The research is clear that parental separation or divorce does not harm children, it is the conflict between parents, even at mild levels, that have serious long-lasting negative impacts on children. While there are many things parents can do to protect their children in these situations, one of the most important, if not the most important, is to work out post-separation parenting issues without a big fight. Family Court, as part of its adversarial system of justice, most often requires some form of conflict over children’s issues. However, there are many alternatives to Family Court for parents who want to work out custody/access issues with less conflict and with more control over the results. While judges always decide custody/access cases in the best interests of the children, what a judge thinks is in a child’s best interests can be different from what the child’s parents think.
In this edition of the Ontario Family Law Podcast, Certified Specialist in Family Law, John Schuman, explains the options for working out custody/access issues without resort to the Courts. He describes parenting mediation, parenting coordination, family law arbitration, custody/access assessments, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and how each of these options works and when each of them can be best. This podcast also describes how parents can have greater control over the parenting plan after separation by using these other methods.
All separated parents, who do not have a parenting plan or agreement over custody/access issues must listen to this podcast to find out not only how to get the best results and protection for their kids, but also how to get the parenting arrangements that work best for them.
For more information about mediation, check out this page, with a video on what happens at family and parenting mediation.
The Ontario Family Law Podcast is a companion to the book, Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law, which is available as an e-book for Amazon Kindle or Kobo, and as an iBook for iPad, iPhone and Mac, or as a paperback from Amazon and other fine book sellers. Anyone who has to deal with issues related to child custody, child access or parenting after separation should rely on both of them for give easy-to-understand information and advice about how the law applies to their case and what are the best ways to address their concerns. The book also covers all the other related family law issues, such as child support, spousal support, property division and restraining orders. To get your copy of the book, click on the picture of the book above and to the left.
Thousands of people tune into the Ontario Family Law Podcast to get valuable pointers on family law, divorce and separation issues. Please feel free to share this podcast with your social network using the sharing buttons below. The host of the Ontario Family Law Podcast, John Schuman, is a Certified Specialist in Family Law, practicing in Toronto. if you would like to contact him, either call 416-446-5869, email us, or fill out form below and click “send.”
You can comment on this podcast using the comments section below. Share your experiences with child custody matters to supplement what people learn from this important podcast.
David L. - The podcast is very good. I would like to draw attention to what goes on outside of court and agreements. When one parent does not keep the agreement they have made and turns around to alienate the children. Then there is no remedy. I and many others have that problem. Yet, to find alternate solutions by the time the children can spend the time with both the realtionship is strained. I have tried for the last 8 years to come to solutions yet due to unreasonable other side have lost that time which the children and I will not be able to get back. Moving forward low income families that struggle to spend the wanted time, need some help other than legal aid.
Response from John Schuman: It is never acceptable for a parent to alienate the children from their other parent. That is actually very harmful to children who need to know both their parents and form their own, independent, impressions of who their parent are. A child deciding whether he or her likes or dislikes a parent is important in helping the child develop a sense of identity. Episode 19 of the podcast may help you. In addition, here are some pages on tips on what to in this situation when your children are: pre-school or school age, teenagers, or infants.
Karin T. - I agree with the comment above; the podcast is very useful. I also agree that it is what goes on behind the scenes that is problematic. I had a mediated agreement that my ex-spouse didn't feel the need to comply with if he didn't agree with it. He played the role in the mediator's office and then in the parking lot would say, "I don't agree with the mediator." This caused endless frustration and grief for me. I ended up no longer willing to pay the high cost of mediation - $2,000/ hr and waste the time.