Ontario’s Chief Justice Warren Winkler advocates for changes to the family court system to make it more efficient, less adversarial and more cost-effective, according to The Globe and Mail. He suggests that litigants should be diverted to mediation or an alternative process to the traditional adversarial process. While I admire the Chief Justice’s ambition, frankly, I believe the family court is here to stay. There will always be certain people who just want a piece of flesh torn from the back of their ex-spouse and certain lawyers willing to do it. The Family Court will always be a messy, bloody circus.
We already have an efficient, effective process available to separate couples and it’s called Collaborative Team Practice. We have many trained professionals willing and able to help to separate couples resolve their issues in a mature, reasonable and private process yet our family courts continue to be overflowing with litigants, hell-bent on revenge.
Why? I think there is some sort of primal instinct in us all that just loves a good fight. Otherwise, why would sports like NHL hockey and professional boxing thrive?
If you go to a traditional lawyer who loves to do battle, you will be lead astray and end up in family court, paying thousands of dollars to avenge yourself. In the end, you will feel raped and abused. You won’t feel good about it. Nobody does.
I applaud Chief Justice Winkler’s desire to educate the public about alternatives to the toe-to-toe battle of family court. I believe if more people knew about Collaborative Team Practice, it would become mainstream.
There may be a primal instinct to fight but I also believe that deep down most people are reasonable and just want to get through their separation quickly, fairly and cost-effectively. Given the opportunity, they will do the right thing.
To put it another way, given a choice between the brawling, head-injury prone style of NHL hockey versus fast-paced, skill-oriented Olympic hockey, most North Americans will choose the Olympic style hockey every time, hands down.
If you are getting a divorce, you decide. Court versus Collaborative. Are you a brawler or a reasonable person who just needs some help to get through tough times?