Mediation & Collaborative Services
Each year, thousands of separations and divorces are processed through the Alberta courts. There are many stories of "ugly", "bad" or "one-sided" separations. There has been significant research which consistently demonstrates two major findings:
Yet, for each negative story, there is a positive one. There is a clear trend in people seeking calmer, healthier separations. From selfies at the court house to "conscious uncoupling", those going through a separation are looking to move on with their lives with dignity, agency and lower costs.
At our office, we provide Mediation and Collaborative Law services to give you a choice in how to resolve your separation.
Families go through many emotional and legal difficulties other than just divorce. Just because a legal problem arises, it does not mean the family or friend relationship needs to end negatively. We can also provide mediation or collaborative services for those dealing with inheritance and estate disputes, small business disputes and disagreements over property.
You and your ex-spouse meet in person with a trained, neutral mediator to work through everything in your separation. Normally, lawyers do not attend. A mediator is highly trained in facilitating open, honest settlement discussions in a safe space, to help people reach agreements that work for both sides. You will first agree to behaviour guidelines and sign a Mediation Agreement. You will engage with your ex, have your say on what’s important to you personally, and solve the tough questions surrounding your separation. Everything said during mediation is confidential and cannot be used against you in court. The final decision on how to end your separation and move on is made by you and your ex-spouse.
Once you reach an agreement in mediation, the final agreement will be written into a formal settlement contract that is legally binding. At the end, both you and your ex will sign the settlement agreement with a lawyer to get full legal advice. The mediator does not provide legal advice.
For more information on mediation in Alberta, see: http://afms.ca/faq
At our firm, Kimberley is a lawyer and a mediator. Her neutral, understanding approach and her knowledge of the law will help you reach a comprehensive solution that works long-term. In this process, Kimberley acts only as a neutral, and does not represent you or your ex as a lawyer.
Collaborative Family Law
In this process, both you and your ex-spouse have a full-time lawyer from the beginning. All four people attend settlement meetings together, and communicate with everyone in the loop. You will sign a Participation Agreement, which is a written promise not to go to court or threaten court during the Collaborative process. Not all family lawyers are Collaborative lawyers. Collaborative lawyers are highly trained to keep conflict down while working through matters with a focus on your actual interests, problem solving and resolution. Like mediation, you get your say, everything is confidential and off the record, and the final decision is made by you and your ex. Unlike mediation, your lawyer is always part of the process and you don’t have to find an outside lawyer to sign the final agreement.
For more information on Collaborative law, see: https://collaborativepractice.ca/collaborative-divorce-overview
At our office, Kimberley is a Registered Collaborative Lawyer in a network of other collaborative professionals that are committed to resolution. Your ex’s lawyer would also have to be a Registered Collaborative Lawyer.
Both Mediation and Collaborative Law are family-centred conflict resolution processes that end with a mutually agreeable solution.
95% of mediation and collaborative files are successful in reaching a full, final legal agreement that leaves both sides feeling positive, in less time than a traditional divorce through the courts.