The needs of separated families will constantly change. The residency schedule may need to evolve; children will go to University; someone may have to relocate; people may try to reopen legal issues if they always resented the deal they felt pressured into.

How to effectively plan for these changes so that you are not back in your lawyer’s office every time?

  1. Stay out of court
    If your family gives control of your life to a judge, chances are neither of you will like the results and someone will try to change things at the first opportunity. Keep your separation out of court and negotiate something you both can live with.
  2. Negotiate a fair agreement
    If a spouse is bullied during the negotiation process, inevitably that spouse will get stronger and will seek redress at the first opportunity. It does not pay in the long run to be overly aggressive.
  3.  Get a Collaborative lawyer, not an aggressive lawyer
    If you chose aggressive lawyers, chances are they won’t foster good relations nor help the spouses to communicate effectively. When new issues resurface, past resentments will bring both of you right back at your lawyers’ offices. Use Collaborative lawyers; they foster good relations which will enable spouses to work together to find their own solutions to changes without the need to involve lawyers.
  4. Don’t let old conflicts taint your judgment about new problems
    Leave the baggage, the annoyance and the resentments in the past, and seek creative and fair solutions to the current situation. Learning to accept your ex for all that they are and all that they are not, will help you to listen to their proposals regarding new issues without dismissing them outright because you still resent them.
  5. Build an effective Dispute Resolution mechanism
    A Dispute Resolution mechanism in a separation agreement is a set of steps that spouses need to follow when an issue is reopened, which are designed to facilitate future conflict resolution. Your Collaborative lawyer can craft effective dispute resolution mechanisms adapted to suit all types of personalities involved – procrastinator, aggressive, type-A, disagreeable, etc.

Using a Collaborative Law lawyer at the outset of your separation will definitively make a positive difference for you and your family as your family evolves and moves forward.

Nathalie Boutet
Boutet Family Law

Nathalie is a skilled Family Law lawyer with over 20+ years of experience who is committed to the practices of out-of-court negotiation, Collaborative Law and Mediation for separating couples and families. She is an Accredited Mediator with Ontario Association for Family Mediation. To learn more about Nathalie click

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