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Divorce in Ontario can be non-adversarial

Ontario couples who have decided to end their marriages can choose a path of acrimony or a path of cooperation. There are those who pursue a litigated divorce because they believe that they can fight a battle in court and come out as the winner. The truth is that there are only losers in any divorce, and when acrimony rules it, the children may be the biggest losers.

Other options that can save not only time and money but also aggravation include mediation and collaboration. Mediation provides a divorcing couple with the opportunity to negotiate a settlement agreement with the help of an independently qualified divorce mediator. This person will encourage communication and work to keep the two parties focused on the future rather than the past. The mediator will also make sure both spouses have the opportunity to have their voices heard and work to resolve their issues in a non-adversarial manner.

When a couple chooses collaboration, they must each have their legal counsel and a team of advisers to help them reach a settlement agreement. However, this option expects both parties to commit to settling, and if they fail, they have to start all over again with new lawyers. Conversely, mediation allows a couple to have certain aspects decided by a court if they are deadlocked, and then the couple can return to mediation to finalize the settlement.

Although legal representation is not required for mediation, the support and guidance of a divorce lawyer could be invaluable. A lawyer can be present during negotiations and provide valuable advice and input while also making sure his or her client receives fair treatment. Once the divorcing spouses agree on the details of their settlement agreement, their respective lawyers can check the legal aspects and present it to the Ontario court for authorization.

Source:, "Acrimony versus Cooperation", Gail Vaz-Oxlade, Accessed on Feb. 16, 2018

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