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Diverting from the Abyss of Family Court

March 31, 2015

Did you know that it’s never too late to divert your family matter from court?

Many people do not know this, but it’s true. If parents agree to seek an alternate approach to settling their dispute they may do so and interestingly enough, of all court actions started, 95% settle prior to trial.

Given the vast majority of court actions settle prior to trial, then ask yourself, why spend all that time, aggravation and money fighting a dispute that with other forms of support you are likely to settle more reasonably anyway?

So why are you going to court?

Many people go to court only because of lack of awareness of other options to settling disputes.

In some situations, a person’s own lawyer may have downplayed or not addressed the alternatives to court not necessarily to protect their own income, but because many lawyers are also ill informed as to the value of more peaceful strategies for resolving issues and/or their own training obscures their vision and appreciation of the alternatives.

A lawyer trained in litigation will be invested in going to court. That is what they do. A lawyer trained in Collaborative Law will work to keep your matter out of court, as will a Mediator and even a good therapist who has knowledge and training helping separated parents co-parent.

Imagine standing at a precipice. You look over the edge, ready to jump, the bottom unforeseen. As you wind through the court system, you learn that the initial retainer paid to your lawyer was only a meager down-payment the end of which is also unforeseen. Not only will the cost inevitably escalate, but you have no control over the final outcome in the event a judge must make a decision regarding your life.

Don’t jump.

Diverting your matter from court is like stepping back from the precipice and not taking a leap into the abyss. This is important because those agreements entered into voluntarily tend to be better followed and last longer than decisions imposed by a judge or arbitrator. Parents not only want to achieve a livable outcome to their dispute, but also want to know both will honor the agreement.

By all means, if it is a fight you really want, hire a litigator go to court. If it is a settlement you want, hire a settlement oriented and trained professional and stand back from the precipice.

Either direction may be scary for you, but once you consider the direction of your action, jumping over a cliff will hardly look like a reasonable alternative. Choose wisely in the first place and if you don’t, remember, it’s never too late to divert your case from court.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

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