OTTAWA, May 2, 2019 /CNW/ - Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable David Lametti PC MP, is addressing Family Law professionals regarding about Bill C-78, an Act to amend the Divorce Act at the joint conference of the Ontario Collaborative Law Federation (OCLF) and the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM).
"These are important changes that Family Law professionals have been advocating for, for a long time," said James W. Jeffcott, President of the Ontario Collaborative Law Federation. "Experts agree that when children are exposed to high conflict situations it harms their long-term development. Separation and divorce create so many changes in people's lives together with a need to negotiate, and resolve many complex issues – all at a time of emotional upset and stress. This can create conflict. Many professionals who work with parents and children of separated parties recommend consensual, non-adversarial resolution processes over court – to prevent and reduce the conflict that harms kids."
Bill C-78 and its revisions to the Act promises a new, more family-centred approach to separation and divorce. This Bill's proposed post-separation parenting approach is one that has been advocated by those working in the field for more than 20 years. For example, using more neutral, less charged terminology, moving away from the outdated "custody" and "access", and requiring parents and their lawyers to think about the harm of conflict on children during and after separation. Of particular note the Bill more strongly encourages parents to try to reach their own agreements by using out-of-court, consensual resolution processes, such as Mediation or the Collaborative Process wherever possible. Bill C-78 is currently at the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
Consensual dispute-resolution experts who work to assist couples through a separation, know that their approaches not only help people avoid acrimony and conflict - but also can help preserve family wealth. The cost of a litigated divorce or separation can escalate very quickly in court. According to a 2016 survey in Canadian Lawyer magazine, a contested divorce could cost up to $47,389 per person.
But, the nuanced communication and peacemaking skills necessary to steer freshly separated adults through the negotiation process aren't easily acquired and require updating to keep up with the quickly shifting social, legal and family landscape.
"This joint conference brings together professionals who are in the trenches assisting families to find resolutions to the dissolution of their relationships or the post separation issues that arise from those relationships across the Province of Ontario and Canada and internationally. The focus is on skills development and best practices for professionals who prefer to find resolutions for their clients outside of the court process," continues Jeffcott. "We welcome the Minister's participation today, because as experts who navigate this delicate process on a daily basis, we want to continue to work with the Department of Justice to update the Act appropriately."
Collaborative Practice, also known as Collaborative Family Law, is a settlement process that helps clients reach a peaceful and equitable conclusion to their relationship without resorting to the court system. Collaborative Practice addresses the practical and emotional aspects of ending a relationship and addresses parenting matters through the related fields of law, finance, and family counselling. We take a holistic approach that considers all aspects of separation to minimize the stress for everyone. The concept was designed as an alternative to adversarial litigation that forces non-combative couples into a confrontational process.
The Ontario Collaborative Law Federation (OCLF) represents local Collaborative Practice groups across the province (there are currently 20 such groups with approximately 600 total members) offering an out of court dispute resolution option to separating families. Group members include lawyers, family counselling & health professionals, and financial professionals. All Collaborative Professionals have taken substantial training and are qualified to practice in this interest-based, child-focused, holistic approach to resolving family law matters.
Official conference web site: https://www.familypeacemakers.ca
Ontario Association of Family Mediation website: https://www.oafm.on.ca/
Ontario Collaborative Law Federation Website: www.oclf.ca
SOURCE Ontario Collaborative Law Federation
For further information: Media contact: James W. Jeffcott, President of the Ontario Collaborative Law Federation, Tel: 613-768-5409, [email protected]