Blog

The Promise of Family Mediation-Arbitration: Is it Real?

The crisis in access to family law justice has led to many great things happening outside of court. Collaborative practice, for example, has grown from disenchantment with the adversarial legal system’s assumption that positional bargaining necessarily protects the interest of parents and their children. Family mediation has become the go-to solution for both the public– seeking to avoid paying lawyers– …
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What does a successful Parenting Coordination client look like?

I spend a considerable amount of time each month talking to prospective clients about various dispute resolution processes. I tell them what my processes look like and what my expectations are for the clients. Recently a client asked how I would describe a successful PC client. It was an excellent question as to the more we can explain to clients …
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Do No Harm: Should I Move Fast or Slow?

Whether you have left an unhappy situation, or are heartbroken about being left by someone you love or need—anxiety around the prospect staying connected to your separated spouse is visceral. For children, the frustration and despair is multiplied.  Children have no control over the decisions of their parents, the spread of the coronavirus, nor the conditions in which they find …
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Best Practices for Addressing Power Imbalances and Safety in Family Dispute Resolution Processes: Research, Protocols and the Law

Introduction With courts, for now, restricting services to all but emergency matters due to COVID-19, the demand for alternative dispute resolution services is growing exponentially. The need is greater than ever to ensure that those processes put issues of power imbalance and safety of clients and children first. Private mediation or adjudication is not appropriate in all cases. Professionals should …
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Book Review: A Guide To Family Arbitration In Ontario, By Stephen Grant And Jenna Preston (Lexis Nexis 2018)

Score: 9.5/10 As a family arbitrator I am always looking for good reading to stay current. I recommend this book highly for anyone doing this work. This thin (just over 100 pages of text), easy-to-read primer is a gem for family arbitrators and parenting coordinators. It is also a great guide for counsel wondering if private adjudication is a good option. …
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Court Upholds Confidentiality of Mediation Intake Forms, Mediator’s File & Screening Notes

Cliff Nelson, Riverdale Mediation & Hilary Linton, Riverdale Mediation and mediate393/311/47 Few legal principles are more sacrosanct than settlement privilege. In family law, where the legal, emotional and physical safety of family mediation is directly connected to its effectiveness, the principle is even more important. And the most sacred of all parts of a family law file are the notes …
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The (Unique) Perils of The PC Process

The parenting coordination process is a difficult one for both clients and PCs. Invariably there is one parent who is more committed; or is driving the process. In addition, once the arbitration phase of the process has been utilized, the losing parent usually disengages altogether. Throw in the fact that many parents have not been fully educated on the process …
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The Tenacious Mediator: Ten tips for “Moving the Mediation”

If there are three qualities that distinguish a good mediator from a great one, they are: Dangerous curiosity: great mediators are not afraid to follow their curiosity. This takes high level questioning skills to do effectively. In particular it requires gentle, non- judgmental, open-ended questions. Genuine curiosity is easy but it requires the mediator to completely set aside any preconceived …
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