We are a settlement-focused family law firm. So how are we different from your average law firm?
We decided to focus our family law practice solely on out-of-court solutions. This means that when you retain us we put all our energy into helping you find the best solution for you and your family. It means that we do not need to spend time (or your money) on court procedures; rather we put all our resources into finding practical solutions that work for you and move you forward.
We have extensive training in what we call “interest-based” settlement and negotiation – working out solutions that fit with your values and what is important to you. We are continually learning, training and teaching in this area is so that we can bring fresh ideas and a depth of experience to our work.
Resolving family matters in this way is our passion. This is not just another option from court – we think of it as a radically different way of approaching separation and divorce and family transitions.
For our relationship planning practice, we help you to find the best plan for all the “what ifs” so you do not have to worry. Whether you are a in a new relationship, a blended family situation, or thinking of moving in together or getting married, our approach is to help you have these discussions in a way that creates clarity about your future together without pitting you against each other. Marriage Agreements and Cohabitation Agreements —we got it.
Mediation is a way to help you and your spouse to have a focused and productive conversation with the goal of settling issues. A mediator is a neutral facilitator who acts as a guide through difficult conversations. We offer mediation for couples who are separating, as well as for couples who need guidance with relationship planning.
The focus in family law mediation is on exploring what is important to each of you (and your children, if you have children), and coming up with options for settlement that address your hopes and concerns as you move through this life transition.
We address all the issues that need to be covered in the separation agreement, including guardianship, parenting time, asset and debt division, and child and spousal support. At the end of the mediation process, the goal is to have a signed separation agreement that works for your family.
As mediators who are also trained as lawyers, we provide the added benefit of our legal knowledge and experience with asset and debt division, and child and spousal support, as well as the legal framework around guardianship and parenting responsibilities. We can provide helpful legal information to both of you in the mediation sessions.
If your spouse has already retained a lawyer who is not trained in the Collaborative Law process, it is still possible to sit down and negotiate with the parties and their lawyers if everyone is willing to look at settlement options. Our focus is settling matters outside of the courtroom in a way that reduces conflict while keeping the important issues at the centre. We use our expertise to assist our clients to negotiate better and more durable agreements.
INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE
Why is Independent Legal Advice (ILA) important? Signing a family law agreement – whether it’s a Separation Agreement, a Cohabitation Agreement or Prenuptial Agreement – is a big deal. It’s really important to get it right. In our experience, it is a wise investment to make sure the wording reflects what you really intend rather than later having to dispute or re-negotiate at great expense the agreement you signed. A little money up front is better than a lot of money to fix it later!
Once you have a Separation Agreement in place, you may wish to obtain a court order for divorce on an uncontested basis. We charge flat rates for this service. We make sure that you have everything you need to obtain a divorce, draft all of the court documents, take your affidavits and file them for you at the court registry.
COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW
Collaborative Law is a process used to resolve matters between you and your spouse in a supported manner, without having to resort litigation, and in a way that allows the two of you to maintain control over the process and over the outcome.
The Collaborative process provides tools to strengthen your family as you transition through separation. The process uses collaboratively-trained lawyers, coaches, child specialists and financial specialists on an as-needed basis. With these tools and support, families and couples learn to deal with conflict in a healthy way so that they are not constantly needing the courts to resolve conflict years after a divorce. The clients and the professionals involved all sign a contract in which they agree to resolve issues in a respectful and safe environment, without the threat of litigation.
One of the benefits of Collaborative Law is that it provides a safe space in which to address matters with the support and advice of your respective lawyers in the room. The lawyers are trained to work as a team, not as adversaries, so that you find a resolution that is going to work for both of you and meets each of your needs. Collaborative Process can provide support in even the most tense and conflicted environments.
So, you are moving in together or getting married. Congratulations! In the excitement leading up to this next step in your relationship, it can be easy to avoid dealing with your financial planning.
What does this mean for each of you financially?
How do you want to plan for your future together?
Do you have assets that you want to protect from division?
Do you have children from an earlier relationship that you want to provide for financially?
Sitting down to work out the basics of how your financial future looks together is valuable time spent so that you can start marriage off on the right foot. We find that using mediation is an effective and conflict-reducing process that uses one neutral facilitator rather than each hiring a lawyer to negotiate the terms of any agreement.
If you have already had those important discussions and are clear on what you want, we can be retained as your lawyer to draft an agreement. Give us a call and we can give you some resources to help you start planning.