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New Westminster BC Family Law Blog

Arbitration may be better option for high-conflict divorce

Recognizing that one's marriage is ending often brings mixed emotions. Someone in British Columbia who is divorcing a spouse for whom there is still a fondness may have a more difficult time. However, those who are breaking up with a high-conflict personality (HCP) may simply want to avoid more contention as much as possible. Recent advances in the methods of divorce have made it possible for couples to split peaceably and cordially through mediation and collaboration. With a high-conflict spouse, arbitration may be possible.

Since HCPs may be uncompromising, working out an agreement or negotiation may be an exercise in futility. An HCP shares may traits with a narcissist and may not be willing to concede even to reasonable suggestions. Additionally, a spouse with narcissistic traits may not be able to understand the consequences of his or her actions beyond how they advance the HCP's current agenda.

Arbitration may be a suitable way to end a marriage

When a married couple in British Columbia decides to end their marriage, there are different divorce options from which they can choose the method that best suits them. Litigation, arbitration, mediation and collaboration are available alternatives to consider. The method closest in nature to a litigated court proceeding would be arbitration -- with several advantages.

Both litigation and arbitration involve a third party who will listen to the arguments of both sides and make a ruling. However, with arbitration, the wait for a trial date is much shorter, and the arbitrator typically has a family law background, which the assigned judge in court may not have. In fact, the divorcing couple can choose an arbitrator to handle their case. In many high net worth divorces, this is the preferred method because firm decisions are made which will remain confidential rather than becoming a public record as in litigated cases.

Strange but true: Mediation now could prevent a common cold later

Ask any good parent in New Westminster why he or she works so hard and sacrifices so much, and the answer will almost always be, "for the kids." Though a divorce can change a family, it does not change the desire of parents to do right by their children. In a remarkable new study, a team of researchers has found evidence to suggest that how parents deal with each other and their children after a divorce can affect the children's health, even into adulthood. Could divorce mediation possibly prevent the common cold?

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University conducted the study, and they published the results. A group of 201 healthy adults went into quarantine, where the researchers exposed them to a virus that can cause the common cold. The group was monitored for five days after exposure.

The divorce selfie: Make it a photo finish with collaborative law

The notion that a divorce must be a highly confrontational and even combative event is as outdated as the film camera. A modern divorce in British Columbia can be a cooperative process that two people work through together in equal partnership. Collaborative law might be the key for those who would rather end their marriage with a selfie than a spat.

The idea of a divorce selfie may seem ridiculous to some. For others, however, it's a way to show the world that though the marriage may be over, there is still respect between the former spouses. This is especially important for divorcing parents, of which there are many in Canada.

Using collaborative law to preserve good mental health

A divorce can be a very stressful event. The legal process can be a strain on some, and the reasons behind the divorce may be an emotional burden. The mental and emotional toll of divorce is a well-known phenomenon, and no one struggling to cope with his or her divorce should feel alone. The Canadian Mental Health Association provides tips for anyone dealing with a divorce that may be of benefit. It may be that collaborative law could play a role in reducing the stress of a British Columbia divorce.

According to the mental health professionals at the CMHA, it is common to feel a wide range of emotions during a divorce, including sadness, fear, anger and loneliness. Dealing with these emotions effectively now may pay dividends in the future, and help one avoid long periods of unhappiness. By following a few pieces of advice, it is possible to come through a divorce stronger than ever.

Study shows divorce is unhealthy for kids; can mediation help?

Anyone who has been through a divorce, or who knows someone who has, knows it can take an emotional toll on those involved. A new study indicates that there may also be significant physical effects unwittingly inflicted on children during a divorce. For men and women in British Columbia, mediation may be the way to prevent that from happening. 

A new study out of Spain is shedding some light on the negative effects a divorce can have on a child's health. Researchers evaluated the health problems of 467 children between the ages of 2 and 18. What they found was that children with divorced parents were twice as likely to suffer from ailments stemming from dermatological, neurological, gastrointestinal or genitourinary conditions than did kids of intact families. There seemed to be no impact on the occurrence of other conditions, including allergies, sensory issues and respiratory problems.

Unmarried men and women may still want mediation in the end

Ever the trendsetters, British Columbia baby boomers are once again blazing new trails. This time, however, instead of revolutionizing music, or shaking up the fashion business, the 50-plus crowd has taken on the institution of marriage. Though they seem to be following the path of least resistance, there may still come a day when some among them will require mediation, or another form of dispute resolution, to settle their relationship matters.

Data from the United States shows that fewer boomers are marrying their long-term partners than ever before. In 2016, there were four million Americans over the age of 50 living together in unwedded bliss. That number is nearly double what it was in 2007. Similarly, census data in Canada reveals 10.8 percent of Canadians between the ages of 50 and 59 years old chose cohabitation over marriage in 2011, up nearly 2 percent from 2006.

Even using collaborative law may not be enough to save the house

The real estate market in British Columbia inflated beyond anyone's expectations recently, and home values are at historic highs. For some homeowners, it's like a dream come true. For those men and women going through a divorce, however, it may not be such good news. Even in a non-confrontational divorce using collaborative law, it might not be possible to hang on to the marital home.

When two people divorce in BC, they split their assets evenly. This includes the value of the family home. In order for one person to keep the home, either that person must buy out the other person's share, or the other person receives equal value in additional assets. If the home is worth far more than it once was, however, neither of these scenarios may be possible.

Effective co-parenting can begin with a collaborative law divorce

The dream for many men and women in British Columbia is to marry, raise children and live happily ever after with their family. For some, however, the dream does not last. A divorce may mean the end of the family unit as it was, but it doesn't have to mean the end of good child rearing or a positive family dynamic. By starting from a nonconfrontational position, perhaps through a collaborative law approach to the divorce, parents can build a new family based on cooperation, and placing the child's needs first.

A family in the United States gained a measure of fame recently from a family photograph that went viral. The picture shows a little girl in her soccer uniform flanked by four adults. All five are wearing the same number, but the adults each have something extra on their shirts. Instead of a surname on the back, one shirt spells out "Mommy," another says, "Daddy," and the group is completed with, "Step Dad" and "Step Mom." 

Staving off financial trouble through collaborative law

It is no secret that life after divorce is entirely different than it was before. Many people are not fully prepared for the challenges their new lives will bring, however. A recent study shows divorce can strain finances to the breaking point. For some men and women in British Columbia, collaborative law may hold some of the keys to a solution. 

A survey conducted in Ontario asked insolvent men and women to name the major contributing factors to their financial troubles. One of the main causes cited was divorce. It was most prevalent among those aged 40 to 49; 20 percent of people in this age bracket called it a major contributor to their insolvency. Divorce is not typically the sole cause of a financial collapse, but it can bring down an already rickety fiscal structure.