Changing Legal Landscape in Family Law
The Supreme Court of Canada’s Family Justice Action Group found that over 50% of divorce claimants were choosing to self- represent rather than engage the services of a lawyers. The court recommended that the family justice system offer various dispute resolution options to help families resolve their disputes such as mediation and adjudication.
According to Bill C-78 regarding the family dispute resolution process, section 7.3 states:
To the extent that it is appropriate to do so, the parties to a proceeding shall try to resolve the matters that may be the subject of an order under this Act through a family dispute resolution process…family dispute resolution process means a process outside of court that is used by parties to a family law dispute to attempt to resolve any matters in dispute, including negotiation, mediation and collaborative law.
Legal advisers are now required by law to recommend their clients who are seeking to dissolve their marriage to first undergo marriage counselling or guidance facilities that may be able to assist the spouses to achieve a reconciliation.
Becoming a Family Mediator
As a family mediator, you could join the Ontario Association of Family Mediators (OAFM) and Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute. The mediator is going to have to have graduate level credentials and expertise to be able to instil the corresponding confidence in referred clients. In essence, what is going to be necessary for the proposed first instance referral system to function at a best practices level is a collaborative law relationship between mediators and family law practitioners.
The UK LLM/MA Law degree
UK Law schools have direct entry one-year graduate LLM/MA Law degree programs that have been designed to provide graduates with the expertise and credentials to navigate complex family and divorce law and function as high performance mediators. This is an opportunity for a group of aspiring professionals and mediation/alternative dispute associations to develop a mutually beneficial professional development program through an applied research linkage with one or more UK Law School’s direct entry LLM/MA Law mediator/alternative dispute programs through the Professional Career Launcher program.
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