Brief Conflict Intervention: a free resource for Alberta parenting disputes

By Calgary Family Lawyer Matthew Wirove

The Alberta Courts have established a number of resources that parties going through a separation or divorce can engage in to assist in avoiding litigation and resolve disputes. We discussed the Early Intervention Program in a previous blog. Another resource which is geared toward separated spouses who need ongoing intervention is the Alberta Brief Conflict Intervention program.

The Brief Conflict Intervention program is a service for parties involved in parenting disputes and are having difficulties with co-parenting. Through the court, a specialist, or clinician is appointed to work with the parties to help improve their understanding of their child’s needs after separation or divorce, as well as to assist in resolving parenting disputes. Through the Brief Conflict Intervention program the specialist may:

  • Provide information on the developmental needs of children with separated parents;
  • Conduct sessions with one parent, a parent with the child present, or with the child alone;
  • Educate the parties on the importance of quality parent-child relationships;
  • Explore family and individual strengths;
  • Discuss the adverse effects of parenting conflict on a child’s development;
  • Examine problem-solving skills and conflict resolution styles;
  • Provide solutions for problem-solving between the parents;
  • Help to resolve identified parenting issues;
  • Draft a parenting agreement; and
  • Explore further options to assist the former spouses in resolving their parenting conflicts.

The Brief Conflict Intervention Program is a great resource to consider as there is no cost for entering the program. As well, the parents can use the Brief Conflict Intervention program as an ongoing resource which they can go back to a number of times.

There are however some limitations on who may apply to participate in the Brief Conflict Intervention program. The following eligibility criteria must be met first before entering the program:

  • The parties must have a parenting dispute involving at least one dependent child;
  • One party must have a gross income of less than $40,000 per year;  
  • The parties must undergo a safety screening;
  • The separated parties must also agree to participate in the program together;
  • The parties must have attempted mediation at least once before; and
  • The separated parties must not have active Child and Family Services involvement, any active restraining orders or emergency protection orders.

The Alberta family lawyers at Crossroads Law believe in alternative dispute resolution and mediation, especially for parenting issues. Alternative dispute resolution like the Brief Conflict Intervention program are generally more cost-effective and efficient than going to court. However, there may also be situations where Court is necessary.

If you believe that you meet the criteria for the Brief Conflict Intervention program, contact the Calgary family lawyers at Crossroads Law to help you apply and prepare for the program.