Do divorce lawyers need to stop being so adversarial?

I love reading news about the promotion of family mediation, so it’s great to see Canada passing laws to promote it as a way to resolve disputes.

Where family mediation is appropriate (and sometimes it’s not) and people feel it’s right for them, it’s a much more humane process to go through.

Having been a lawyer for 15 years, I have seen over and over again the stress and conflict that is caused by people going to Court.  When I see news that promotes family mediation, I am hopeful that it will become more and more common place and the norm for making decisions on separation and divorce.

The updated Divorce Act focuses on preventing harassment and domestic abuse. I was happy to see some changes in language that attempt to move away from the 'custody battle” language.

One of the goals of the updated Divorce Act is to push couples towards settling disputes outside of court. This can include mediation, arbitration, and the signing of separation agreements.

If this goal is successful, it will save Canadian taxpayers a lot of money. Staffing the court with judges, sheriffs, and court staff is extremely expensive.

Now that the federal government is pushing for changes, it will be up to divorce lawyers to follow. The lawyers will need to push their clients towards mediation and settling the dispute outside of court.

I would say from experience that about half of divorce lawyers truly care about their clients and want them to have a good experience. These lawyers want to make their client’s divorce experience as smooth as possible.