Interest-based mediation an effective model for family disputes

Resolving family law disputes often involves employing creative solutions, Calgary and Vancouver family lawyer Marcus Sixta tells

Sixta, the founder of Crossroads Law, points to a recently mediated divorce settlement in which the mother wasn’t comfortable leaving her young child overnight with the father, who had not spent much time with the two-year-old boy.

“We had to think creatively about how to resolve this impasse where the mother wasn’t comfortable with the father having any overnights at all, and the father eventually wanted to have the child 50-50,” says Sixta, who worked as the mediator on the case.

“In order to come up with a solution, we needed to think about what the mother’s true interests were, her deep down concerns,” he says.

“When we got into it, we discovered there was a history of the father getting angry in the relationship, and she was worried about his ability to manage his anger and how that would impact the child. The father, on the other hand, said his anger wasn’t an issue.”

In the end, the mother agreed that if he took anger management classes and produced a certificate, she would be more comfortable with him having the child overnight, he says.

Sixta then suggested a progressive schedule that increased with time, which the mother agreed to. So as the child aged, the father would have more and more time with him.

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