Mary, a 44-year-old school teacher, and Bruce, a 46-year-old plumber, embarked on a journey of self-discovery and mutual agreement when they took part in an Early Neutral Consultation with Divorce the Smartway. Initially, they were apprehensive, clouded by their preconceptions of what the end of a marriage might entail. However, they quickly discovered that their differences were manageable. This realization was particularly crucial, given their shared parental responsibilities for their two children, Madison, 14, and Mackenzie, 17.
Mary and Bruce had experienced first-hand the tumultuous fallout of a bitter divorce process through Mary’s sister’s experience. The acrimonious split had left a trail of emotional distress and financial burdens that stretched far beyond the immediate family. Protracted court proceedings, hostile behaviour, and strained family relationships characterized Mary’s sister’s divorce. The legal costs were extensive, and the emotional toll was even more significant.
For Mary and Bruce, this was a wake-up call. “Seeing the devastating aftermath of my sister’s divorce was eye-opening,” Mary recounts. “We recognized the importance of opting for an alternative to traditional divorce litigation. Our emotional well-being and financial stability were at stake.”
Bruce concurs, “Initially, I was pretty overwhelmed. However, I realized that for the sake of our children and our sanity, we had to give mediation a chance. It was a relief when we started to see progress, especially concerning our children’s future. The speed and effectiveness of the mediation process was a pleasant surprise.”
One of the critical decisions that Mary and Bruce arrived at was to ensure both parents could spend quality time with their children. They also agreed to delay the sale of their three-bedroomed Aurora matrimonial home until Madison graduated from high school, using their savings to maintain the property.
Bruce appreciated the professionalism of Ken, their mediator, who is also a certified divorce financial analyst. He shares, “Despite the myriad of issues that needed addressing, Ken remained calm and composed. He presented us with several options for managing our financial affairs and helped us make informed decisions about our debts, pensions, and the future.”
Ken even structured a settlement that optimized their tax credits and deductions while ensuring compliance with the Canada Revenue Agency’s regulations. But the heart of their agreement was the welfare of their children. “Ken’s biggest contribution was helping us reach an agreement about our children’s future,” Mary notes. “Seeing them happier and accepting the changes in their lives reassures us that we made the right decision. Mum and Dad are still here for them, regardless of the circumstances.”
This account, while based on a real case study, has been presented with changed names to protect the identities of the individuals involved.