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The Meaning of Alternative Dispute Resolution: And how it impacts your divorce

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?


Shared cusstody on The Smart DivorcePeople who need family lawyers are different from people who need other types of lawyers. If you are going through a separation or divorce, or if you need help with child custody or access, child or spousal support, or a children’s aid society issue, your case is about your life.

John Schuman with Deborah

John Schuman with Deborah

The lawyer you choose, and how the separation agreement is settled will also determine how amicable or adversarial the divorce process is, once again impacting your life.  In this episode of The Smart Divorce with Deborah Moskovitch, family law lawyer, John Schuman helps us understand the differences between all of the Alternative Dispute Resolutions to consider when coming to a separation agreement.  We discuss the importance of staying out of court, but also when it might the only option.   John has litigated before every level of court in Ontario, so readily understands the outcomes – not only from a decision perspective, but the impact on emotions as well.

For more on John Schuman, visit: and read Nobody Asks Where I Want to Live at:

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To hear this podcast click here

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Be Creative with Your Mediation

New on The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio:

We welcome back our guest, Mark Baer (, a family law attorney, mediator, and collaborative law practitioner in Pasadena, California and who has been practicing for twenty years.  Mark shares his opinions and views about the family law system, how it can be better and provide more creative ways on getting through divorce.  Deborah Moskovitch, Steve Peck and Mark explore a variety of concepts regarding mediation.  This program isn’t just a standard outline of mediation, but shakes it up a little in this controversial and lively discussion.


Divorce Mediation

Mark Baer

How do you think outside the box in mediation? Mark Baer encourages you to ponder as we discuss:

  • The way in which bias impacts family law litigation
  • Why “evaluative mediation” is not really mediation, even though most lawyers and judicial officers believe otherwise
  • Whether family law attorneys should have higher ethical obligations than other attorneys
  • Funding your children’s college/university education when child support isn’t enough or stops
  • What money represents

There seems to be a major disconnect between the way the public views mediation and how the attorneys and judicial officers view as mediation.  This is a conversation that is steeped in controversy.  Tune in and then let us hear your thoughts on our Facebook fan pages…and don’t forget to like us.   The Smart Divorce and


How to Be Smart About Mediation

Understanding what mediation is as a process, and finding the right mediator, are critical elements to developing  smart and long lasting parenting and financial agreements that are predicated on informed, thoughtful decision making.  A good mediator will discuss what your goals are for the process, what is important to each of you and will help you to craft a plan that addresses those goals and intentions.  This is important to understand, as all mediators are not created equal!

Our guest, Cara Raich, (  ( explores the specifics of mediation in this episode of The Smart Divorce, with Deborah Moskovitch and Steve Peck.   Cara is a mediator and attorney who specializes in helping people find non-adversarial resolutions to conflict. She mediates a wide range of cases including divorce, family conflicts, and organizational and civil disputes.

Cara is dedicated to helping her clients avoid the challenges and acrimony that frequently accompany adversarial proceedings. She does this by enabling her clients to come to realistic and informed agreements that work for them and their families. Cara believes that separation and divorce are family matters with a legal element, not a lawsuit that happens to be about a family.

To understand how these goals are accomplished in a fair and reasonable manner – and gain perspectives on alternative ways to view mediation and settlement we discuss:

  • What does neutrality really mean?
  • What are the process choices that people have when contemplating divorce?
  • How do we as a society view divorce?
  • What is a successful divorce?
  • What is the role the law will play in your divorce? Is the law relevant, determinative or something in between?

This interview will surely help you understand the many aspects of mediation.

To listen, click on the link 

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Find a Problem Solving Divorce Attorney, Not a Conflict Creator

Our guest  on The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source radio , Mark Baer ( is a family law attorney, mediator, and collaborative law practitioner in Pasadena, California and has been practicing for twenty years.  He received a great deal of media attention regarding his opinions that the family law system in the United States destroys families and his views on better and more constructive ways of handling such matters.  His articles have appeared in Forbes, The Los Angeles Daily Journal and Valley Lawyer Magazine.   Columnists from the Pasadena Star-News, the Los Angeles, Times and other newspapers use Mark as a resource for their columns.

Problem solving is a hallmark of a good lawyer.  We explore this outlook and learn what you need to consider when looking for a lawyer.  To learn more, Mark has written the must read article Things to Consider in Order to Select an Attorney Who is a Problem Solver and Not a Conflict Creator (

Topics in this program include:

  • What is a problem solving lawyer
  • What is a problem creator lawyer
  • Finding your problem-solving lawyer
  • How to look for a mediator that’s right for you
  • Problems with lawyers and the legal system

To listen in click on this link

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What September means for divorce

Deborah Moskovitch offers helpful tips for assisting your children through divorce while starting the new school year.

Hello September, so long spouse


From Friday’s Globe and Mail

September is the cruellest month for students, but not for divorce lawyers, as the dusky end of summer brings a swell of clients to their offices each year.

“Fall is back to business time,” said Julia Cornish, senior family lawyer of Sealy Cornish Coulthard. The Halifax firm sees two spikes a year – September and January, New Year’s resolution time.

“Because we all spent so many years in school, it’s a point in our lives when we’ve been conditioned that this is when we do something new,” Ms. Cornish said.

Her office sees double and sometimes triple the normal number of calls in September. These are from new clients, as well as those who had initiated the separation process in spring but let it languish over the summer months.

“People want to get moving,” said Greg Walen, family lawyer with Scharfstein Gibbings Walen Fisher in Saskatoon.

“They’re back to work, they’re back from summer holidays and they’re back in town from the lake.”

According to Statistics Canada, the country saw 70,226 divorces in 2008, a number that’s held fairly steady since 2001. While there’s no official exit poll in September, Canadian divorce lawyers seem to agree: the calls come thick and fast this month.

Dinyar Marzban, senior family lawyer with Jenkins Marzban Logan in Vancouver, said empty nests motivate the September divorce spike.

“Fall comes around and children go to school. The category of people who rightly or wrongly hung in there for the children, maybe the last one’s gone away to university in September. There’s a fair amount of that, people waiting till the last kid’s out of the house.”

He points out that this brand of waiting game is usually reserved for couples who experience a “general dissatisfaction” in their marriages, not the cutthroat betrayals that prompt high conflict, low patience splits.

Many couples will have stewed for months or years before making the September phone call: “I don’t think people’s marriages break down then. It’s just that they start phoning lawyers then,” Mr. Marzban said.

For people waiting it out through a summer of family-filled days, “the dialogue they have with themselves is, ‘Can I hang in, should I hang in?’ ” Ms. Cornish said.

“It’s the same thing as trying to get through Christmas: Let’s get through this. Unless something catastrophic happens, nobody decides on Christmas Eve, ‘Some time today I need to go see a divorce lawyer.’ What they say is, ‘I’m thinking this probably can’t go on much longer. I’m going to get through Christmas and then come January, it’s time to make a change.’ ”

Of course, there are regional differences. Wendy Best, family lawyer with Dunphy Best Blocksom in Calgary, says that while city lawyers do see a jump in September, the real surge comes after July’s Stampede.

“We think it’s because everyone’s out Stampeding having a grand old time drinking non-stop starting at 7 in the morning. There’s all these stupid, ridiculous sayings like, ‘It ain’t cheating, it’s Stampeding.’ And the other person’s going, ‘Thanks, I’m done with you.’ ”

Stampede aside, several factors make summer an unpopular time for initiating a divorce.

“It’s not a lot of fun spending a beautiful summer day in your lawyer’s office,” Ms. Cornish points out.

Mr. Marzban sees it as seasonal lethargy: “People tend not to do anything in the summer. Summer, everybody powers down a bit.”

Another more tangible reason would be that all-inclusive getaway you splurged on together.

“Do you want to spring that on your partner before you go on the two-week holiday you’ve planned and saved for?” Ms. Cornish posits.

She adds that for those itching to split, summer also offers little in the way of momentum.

“It’s frustrating if you are trying to get things done, only to hear that your spouse is on vacation for the next two weeks, and then their lawyer’s on vacation for the next couple of weeks and then your lawyer’s on vacation. Typically courts have a much quieter schedule in the summer as well.”

At the same time, Ms. Cornish suggests summer can be the only time left in the year for reflection, a pause that can then spark the September phone call.

“It’s an opportunity to step back from the daily grind, figure out what’s working and what’s not in your life.”

How to help kids cope

The Smart Divorce author Deborah Moskovitch offers some basic back-to-school help for parents who have decided to separate in September.

Get thee to the principal’s office

To avoid awkward moments between your child and a teacher unaware of the new family dynamics, try to eke out a moment with a principal or vice-principal, who can relay the news. “They know how to handle it with their teachers,” said Ms. Moskovitch, adding that this is crucial if pick-ups are being handled by a parent unfamiliar to staff. “Parents often change the guard at school, rather than going to the other parent’s home to pick up the children. This way, the teachers are aware of what’s happening if they see another parent they’re not used to seeing.”

Get on the school list

If you weren’t the parent manning the school e-mail list, get your own account now, Ms. Moskovitch said. “Make sure that you get report cards mailed to you – register your second address. If there are field trips, you can put your name on the list to be one of the parenting guides. It shows the kids that you care and want to be involved.”

Homework for all

Moving out doesn’t exempt a parent from helping the kids with their homework, especially if they’re particularly strong in a subject. “If you were married, the kids would come home from school, have snacks and maybe some playtime and then they would do their homework.” Recreate that discipline at your place.

Pass notes

“A lot of parents use a journal that goes into the kids’ backpack as a tool to communicate with each other. It goes back and forth and they send notes about doctors’ appointments and assignments at school,” Ms. Moskovitch said.

Be flexible with visits

Between mountains of homework and extracurricular events, your children’s dance cards will fill up fast. Wednesday night pizza may not always be an option; try a lunch on the weekend or during the week if the school allows children leaving the grounds. “The parent can’t take it as a negative if the kids are busy with their friends doing school projects or hockey. They have to be creative in how they spend time with their kids, whether that’s driving [them] to the activities or having a quick dinner.”

Have the talk – most parents don’t

Ms. Moskovitch urges parents to speak with their children about the separation and anticipate their questions: Where they will live and go to school? “You need to give them a sense of security. If they’re already going to start the school year with a heavy heart because they don’t know what’s going on, at least you can try to minimize the confusion by having that conversation.”

To read this article in The Globe and Mail, and other articles by Zosia Bielski click on the link below:


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Getting through divorce while saving time, money – and your sanity.

Introducing The Smart® Divorce Resource Toolkit

The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit is now available, order yours today– one easy phone call or email, to get this valuable resource.  It’s one of the  most comprehensive programs providing a full overview of the divorce process — and endorsed by judges, lawyers, and mental health professionals.  The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit will help you make smart decisions for you and your family – taking you through the entire divorce process, removing the mystery and misconceptions about the outcomes of divorce, how to cut down on your legal bills and so much more.

This comprehensive resource  provides an understanding of all aspects of the divorce process; helping you understand the two sides to your divorce – the “emotional divorce” and the “legal divorce”

Move through your divorce with focus, hope and confidence.

The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit makes the divorce process easy to understand, helping you to be strategic while making sound, smart decisions.  After all, information is knowledge and knowledge is power.

   Call 905 695 0270 or email to get your copy of The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit. 

Included in The Smart Divorce Toolkit are tips, strategies and ideas, packaged as never seen before.  This smart toolkit comes with:

The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit is designed specifically to meet your needs — to help reduce stress, educate and inform you about the divorce process in a cost effective, easy to understand way. Guidance and information from leading family law lawyers, mental health professionals, and parenting experts well versed on the needs of those in the divorce process are included.  And, it’s put together in one smart package, making it uncomplicated, and effortless to understand.

The Tool Kit contains 4 CDs covering the myriad of issues, concerns and questions most people have about divorce – removing the mystery, complexity, and confusion about divorce.  Also included are Smart Guides which add another layer of detail to The Smart Divorce Audios, and provide a step by step plan for going through the divorce process.

The Smart Divorce Audios. 

These unique and informative CDs provide tips and strategies to help navigate this difficult time, educate listeners about the divorce process and provide practical information on getting through it with focus, hope and confidence.

  • Audio 1 – The Emotional  Divorce
  • Audio 2– The Legal Divorce
  • Audio 3 – Smart Co-Parenting: Putting Your Children’s Best Interests First
  • Audio 4 – Rebuilding Your Life Post Divorce

Smart Guides.

Tip sheets that support the information in the audios providing detail and understanding of the specific topic.

Smart Guides:

  • Planning for a Smart Divorce
  • Getting Your Finances Organized for Divorce
  • Coping with the Stress of the Emotional Divorce
  • Coping with Stress in a High Stress Environment
  • Understanding Your Divorce Options
  • Finding a Good Divorce Lawyer
  • Smart Co-Parenting
  • Living Separate and Apart
  • Strengthening the Blended Family Bonds
  • Divorce Financial Check List
  • Understanding Marital Property Laws
  • Important Financial Steps Required to Prepare for Divorce

Don’t delay, order your kit today

Call 905 695 0270 or email to get your copy of The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit.


Introducing – The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new product called: The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit.  The purpose of the Tool Kit is to provide organizations, lawyers, mental health professionals and others in the divorce arena with a resource to help their employees and clients divorce with focus, hope and confidence.  The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit is one very smart package developed specifically to meet an individual’s needs.

This valuable Tool Kit is designed to reduce stress, educate and inform about the many aspects of the divorce process, and is cost effective and easy to understand.

Divorce or a breakdown of a co-habitation relationship is an extremely emotional process. While divorce is a personal matter the emotional impact can spill over into the workplace suddenly making it a public affair. There are so many unknowns about divorce that people are often confused, filled with fear and unsure of how to navigate the process.  In an effort to better heal and deal with divorce process privately, many individuals seek therapeutic counseling.  However, not all therapists are equipped to help their patients understand the specifics of divorce to alleviate many of their concerns i.e. the legal process, financial impact or custody and access issues.  As a result, an individual’s world is temporarily turned upside down, triggering unsettling and distressful emotions. The effects of the emotional distress in the workplace can be devastating.

On a classic rating scale of stressful life events, divorce consistently ranks No. 2–second only to the death of a spouse or child. The process of getting divorced is an emotional roller coaster which can impact people’s ability to be mindful on the job. Although divorce is primarily a personal heartbreak, the effects spill into the workplace; at the extreme – costing one to lose their job – not to mention a good portion of their wealth, and it can even affect the organization’s reputation.  People often feel overburdened and lack confidence; it is not surprising how many buckle under the pressure.

It is well documented that divorce reduces worker productivity.  If one were to do a cost benefit analysis of the effects of divorce in the workplace, one would find that the financial costs to the organization can be enormous.

I understand only too well how devastating the emotions of divorce can be, taking over the legal process while wreaking havoc on one’s career, causing a meltdown on so many fronts, and  the difficulty in overcoming the challenges  of raising children on your own.  It is for these reasons that I created The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit.    I know how important it is to treat your divorce as a business transaction, and arm yourself with as much information as possible.

The Smart Divorce Resource Tool Kit includes:

The Smart Divorce Audios.  These unique and informative audios provide tips and strategies to help navigate this difficult time, educate listeners about the divorce process and provide practical information on getting through divorce with clarity.

  • Audio 1 – The Emotional  Divorce
  • Audio 2– The Legal Divorce
  • Audio 3 – Smart Co-Parenting: Putting Your Children’s Best Interests First
  • Audio 4 – Rebuilding Your Life Post Divorce

Smart Guides.  12 very valuable tip sheets that support the information in the audios and cover other important issues; providing detail, strategies and tips for managing a specific divorce related topic.

In addition to the extensive information available in The Smart Divorce Resource Tool Kit, some organizations may also find it beneficial to offer workshops.  These presentations will provide greater clarity about divorce and managing through the process, in an effort to minimize stress, while maximizing an employee’s attention at work during this often distracting time.

The Smart Divorce® facilitator guided workshop

  • Workshop 1- The Smart Divorce.  A 1 ½ hour overview of the divorce process based on the book, The Smart Divorce. The divorce process in explained in broad terms, while providing an understanding of the emotional divorce and the legal divorce
  • Workshop 2- Strengthening the Blended Family Bonds.  A one hour presentation focusing on considerations when blending families.

Note: Each workshop includes PowerPoint presentation and facilitator script.

Don’t miss out on the introductory offer and save $50 when you place an order a minimum order of 10 kits.  Or, try it out and order just one Toolkit.

For more information click on the link.   To learn more about this unique and innovative program, and how it may help your organization or practice, please contact Deborah Moskovitch at

The Smart Divorce Resource Tool Kit _ Flyer

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Finding the best attorney for your divorce

Tune in to this very informative program on Divorce Source Radio.

In this program we revisit the first step when considering a divorce, selecting the proper attorney for your divorce.

Our guests include renowned Michigan Family Law Attorney and Divorce Source Radio Legal Correspondent, Henry Gornbein and from Toronto, Deborah Moskovitch, a professional Divorce Consultant and author or The Smart Divorce and host of The Smart Divorce Radio show.

Topics discussed will include:

  • How to go about selecting the proper attorney?
  • Should you hire the first attorney you visit or shop around for an attorney?
  • What to expect in your initial consultation with a prospective attorney
  • Questions to ask a potential attorney
  • Watch for attorneys who bring you in with unreasonable expectations or perpetuate conflict
  • We’ll discuss Mediation and Arbitration.  Are they the less confrontational form or divorce?
  • And much more
To listen and download this informative program click on the link below:

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Divorce: It’s All About Control

Tune into the Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio to hear this very informative interview with lawyer, Stacy Phillips.

Stacy D. Phillips, is a celebrity divorce lawyer extraordinaire.  She is the author of the best-selling book Divorce: It’s All About Control How to Win the Emotional, Psychological and Legal Wars; a certified family law specialist, and founder and the managing partner of Phillips Lerner & Lauzon LLP (  In this exclusive interview Stacy offers advice on how to cope with losing control and avoid common divorce battles.

Topics in this program include:

  • An overview of the anatomy of control
  • Managing and coping with control
  • Dealing with the emotional, psychological and legal wars
  • What’s a good client; and working more effectively with your lawyer
  • The major divorce considerations and what to think about
  • Fighting just to win, is it worth it?
  • How to deal with an inflexible ex

Click on this link to hear about managing and overcoming the control

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A Judge’s Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles and the Bitter Realities of Family Court

There are many myths and misconceptions about what goes on in a Court Room.  When it comes to justice, all too often couples are disappointed by the outcome – and end up with large legal bills, family drama which causes an all out war, and a resolution that leaves couples disillusioned.

Our guest, Justice Harvey Brownstone, a sitting court judge, best-selling author of Tug of War, and host of Family Matters TV (; helps us understand what really goes on inside the court room, and a judge’s mind.  Justice Brownstone has been called  a maverick judge who is a pioneer that is unilaterally changing the public image of the judiciary.

This honest and thought provoking interview will change the way you think about litigation, and how you work through the divorce process. We are fortunate to have Justice Brownstone share his thoughts and enlighten listeners as to what really goes on in Court, and what really matters.

Topics in this program include:

  • The impact of litigation on the family
  • What is really in your children’s best interest
  • The importance of a legal consultation
  • A frank discussion about divorce, relationships and so much more

To listen to Justice Brownstone’s interview click on the link: