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Negotiating the Family Justice Maze: A Cooperative Approach

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  1. Negotiating the Family Justice Maze: A Cooperative Approach AFCC-O Kingston & Faculty of Law, Queen’s University April 4, 2013 Chair Ms. Karla McGrath Apr. 5, 2013

  2. Agenda • Domestic Violence: Interval House & Domestic Violence Counselling - Michelle LaMarsh • Advice pre or at the point of separation : K3C Relationship & credit counselling • Financial Planning: Debbie Hartzman - Certified Divorce Financial Analyst • Mediation & Mandatory Information Program : Limestone Mediation - Katherine Ham • Family lawyer: Frontenac Family Law Section - Mark LaFrance • Collaborative Family Law & lawyer mediator: Tina Fasano • Legal Information & Advice: FLIC & Duty Counsel - Leanne Wight • Family Court Assessments: Dr. Robert Rowe & Sabrina Tripolitano • Office of the Children’s Lawyer: clinical investigators & lawyers - Vince Ramsay & Trish Crowe • Family Court: Justice Trousdale • Supervised access: Salvation Army • High Conflict & Abuse Allegations, Supervised Access: Children’s Aid Society - Peggy Wright • Children’s Mental Health Issues: Pathways - Gavin Anderson

  3. Danielle Duchesneau Fund Up to $300/year per individual for legal and safety needs 2-Hour Forms Access to 2 hours of free legal assistance or advise Legal Aid Ontario Advice Lawyers – Family Violence/Immigration & Refugee Law Shelter & Services for Women & Children since 1975 24-Hour Crisis and Support Line 613-546-1777 or 1-800-267-9445 Emergency Safe Shelter For women and their children leaving abuse Counselling & advocacy Robin’s Hope Transitional Housing Self contained apartments for women & children Rent geared to income Outreach Services Counselling for women and children in the community Aboriginal Women’s Program French Language Services

  4. Family Court Support Worker ProgramPresented by Donna Forster, MSW PhD RSWClinical Program Director

  5. Role of FCSWs • Education on options to resolve family law issues and information about legal processes • Ensure safety plan is in place if client plans to leave or has already left • Help to navigate through the legal system (steps in family law cases, understanding legal terms and documents, how to apply for Legal Aid, access duty counsel, etc.) • Support client in working with their lawyer • Support clients who have to self represent by helping them stay organized and on track through the process

  6. FCSWs Continued • Make referrals to other community and legal supports and services • Provide 2-hr Legal Aid certificates for family or immigration law so clients are able to retain some legal advice/information • Provide direction/assistance on how to fill out court documents and how and when to serve and file them • Assist clients in understanding the roles of other systems and professionals like Child & Family Services (CAS), Office of the Children’s Lawyer, etc. • Help to determine what does/does not constitute applying for an emergency motion • Help client to document history of abuse for legal purposes and to gather evidence that may be helpful in family court • Accompany clients to lawyer appointments or court if requested and debrief outcomes afterward

  7. Accessing Support There is no fees involved in the FCSW Program. The service is nonjudgmental and confidential. Clients may be referred by other professionals or they may self refer. Clients can be seen in Kingston or L&A County and there is flexibility regarding day/time. Contact: Dana Orr (613) 549-7850 x 3224 or (613) 354 – 1607 Our Napanee office is located at 113 Richmond Blvd., Unit 16

  8. Financial Planning Professional Investments/Insurance 1180 Clyde Court, Kingston On, K7P Only involved if parties have lawyers

  9. Finding a (Good) Family LawyerMark LaFrance • Frontenac Law Association • Ontario Lawyer Referral Service 1.800.268.8326 • Legal Aid Ontario 1.800.668.8258 •

  10. Mandatory Information Program (MIP)Katherine Ham (Limestone Mediation) • Mandatory Information Programs (MIP’s) designed to ensure that parties starting a court application or bringing a motion to change are provided with upfront information to help the parties make informed decisions about the next steps in the parties’ family law case.  • 2 hour session: lawyer & mediator • No charge • 2 sessions a month at Kingston Family Court 1 at Salvation Army on Patrick St. & 2 in Napanee

  11. Mandatory Information Program: • All family court applicants and respondents are required to attend a two hour session; each attends a separate session. All family litigants are required to attend a MIP, except: * Joint divorces * Cases that only ask for a divorce (with or without costs) * Cases that only request incorporation of terms of an agreement or prior order* Cases that only ask for costs  * Motions to vary that only ask for child and/or spousal support • The intent is that parties attend these sessions prior to beginning court action but in reality they that doesn’t necessarily happen. When these began there were already a lot of files in process; this created a large “catch-up” Scheduling is complicated especially if someone cancels and has to be rebooked; can’t attend one other party is booked into. However, the hope and expectation is that in time everyone will attend a session early in the process. • Attendance varies from a few to 24 in Kingston

  12. Family Mediation What is Family Mediation? It is a way of helping people resolve outstanding issues relating to parenting, separation and /or divorce. Mediators are trained professionals who help people to identify the issues and explore various options so that they can work out their own solutions. What are the Benefits of Mediation? It is voluntary. Parties are in control of the decisions and can work out their own solutions. Children benefit from their parents working together. People often learn more positive communication skills for the future. It is less formal than the court and less costly. For Mediation to work: Parties must be willing and able to communicate their needs and listen to the other party. They must be willing to negotiate and work out a solution. Both parties must feel safe and able to resist pressure to agree to something that seems unfair. .

  13. What issues can be mediated? How and when to separate. Parenting issues (decision making and residential arrangements). Child Support/Spousal support. Division of Property • Who can use Mediators? Couples who have had a very brief liaisonSeparated couplesMarried couplesCommon law partnerssame sex partners • Who can refer clients to mediation?Lawyers, judges, other professionals in the community, previous clients or self referrals.

  14. Finding a Mediator LIMESTONE MEDIATION: call 613-546-2549/ email Onsite Mediation: at the Family Court Building, 469 Montreal St 9:00am - 2:00pm Tues, Wed, Thurs - on day of court appearance only 2 hours free Offsite Mediation (at offsite office, 354. Montreal St.) Subsidized fee schedule Information Referral Coordinator (available in FLIC office at the Family Court Building, 459 Montreal St) 9:00am - 3:00pm Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs. Parenting Workshops Child Protection Mediation Elder Mediation The Best Way to Access an Accredited Family Mediator: • OAFM (Ontario Association of Family Mediators)Website: • FMC ( Family Mediation Canada) Website • ADRIO (Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario) Website

  15. Limestone offers additional workshops • .Strategies for Effective Parenting- Helping Kids Adjust • Communication and Conflict- Keeping Kids out of the Middle • Dad’s Workshop- Support and Resources for Dads on Their Own • Fee for each of these is $40.00

  16. Collaborative Family Law (CFL)Tina M. Fasano, Ryder-Burbidge Hurley Fasano One of the processesfor separated spouses to resolve the legal issues. An effort to made to resolve all issues by way of mutual agreement with the help of specially trained lawyers and a commitment to avoiding court process. Each party must be separately represented& decide to participate; some cases not appropriate for CFL Participation Agreement: (i) commitment to good faith negotiation; (ii) best interests of child (iii) CFL lawyers will not litigate Face-to-face meetings, the two parties and their respective lawyers; possibility of jointly retained expert or valuator Full and complete financial disclosure/good faith negotiation A party is free to change counsel/stay within CFL process Withdrawal from process, but need new lawyers

  17. Legal Aid • Leanne Wight 613-531-7888 • Duty Counsel for assistance on day of court • Refer eligible clients for certificate • Advice Counsel (at Family Court) • Mondays 10am-4pm • Tuesday 12 pm – 4pm • Thurs 11am – 3pm • Friday 9am – 1pm

  18. Self-represented family litigants • Calculation of child & spousal support • • Ontario Court Forms • Download or print Ontario court forms • Family Law Education for Women The FLEW website is a public legal information project to assist women in understanding their family law rights

  19. CLRA Section 30 AssessmentsSabrina Tripolitano, MSW, RSWstripolitano@yahoo.comT: 613.214.1560F: 613.766.6521 An assessment to help the Court decide issues of custody and access. Typically conducted by a Psychologist or Social Worker.

  20. Deciding on an Assessor • Generally, parties or counsel agree on an Assessor and put forward that name in Court. • Important! The Assessor needs to have consented to conduct the assessment and to report to the Court prior to parties or counsel putting the Assessor’s name before the Court. • If the parties cannot agree, a Judge shall choose and appoint an Assessor.

  21. Who pays for the assessment? • The parties generally share the cost. • Sometimes, the Court shall specify the proportions that are paid by each party.

  22. I have an Order for a Sect. 30. Now what? Information is collected through: • Series of interviews • Parent-child interaction observations • Collateral interviews • Resulting in recommendations and formulation of a parenting plan

  23. How long is the process? • It depends. • Up to 3 months from date of initial interview. Dependent on: • parties’ availability, • complexity of issues, and • number of collateral interviews.

  24. What do you need to start? • With an Order: • Copy of the order • Retainer fee • Completed personal data form for each party • Copies of the materials • Without an Order: • Signed copy of the services contract • Retainer fee • Completed personal data form for each party • Copies of the materials

  25. Family Court Clinic (HDH) • Parenting capacity assessments for CFSA proceedings (only) • Court order required: CFSA s. 54.1 • Takes about 3 months from initial interview • No charge to parents • Dr. Robert Rowe, HDH

  26. Office of the children’s Lawyer

  27. Office of the Children’s lawyer • A law office in the Ministry of the Attorney General • Providing service on behalf of children under 18 years in respect to personal and property right • In Family Law matters, OCL lawyers represent children in custody & access disputes and child protection cases • OCL clinical investigators prepare reports for Court in custody & access disputes and may assist lawyers representing children in these matters • OCL involvement often results in resolution without trial

  28. Office of the children’s lawyer • How to involve the OCL? • A court action about custody and access or child protection must have been started • Either party may request appointment of the OCL • Judges may request, by order, the involvement of the OCL • Parties complete Intake forms, and the OCL will review the order and intake forms then notify the parties and the Court whether the OCL consents to become involved and the type of service which will be provided

  29. Office of the children’s lawyer • Types of service: • Legal representation – a panel lawyer is assigned to represent the child regarding custody and access or child protection • Wishes of child must be presented to court, but OCL lawyer may advocate a different position • Children’s Lawyer Report – a clinical investigator is assigned to complete a clinical investigation of the issues and to provide a report to the Court outlining observations and recommendations • Legal representation with Clinical Assist – a lawyer is appointed together with a clinical investigator if there are serious clinical and legal issues, or if the matter is likely to proceed to trial. • Service is in about 65% of family cases where requested but is provided without charge

  30. Family Court

  31. Superior Court of JusticeFamily BranchCourSupérieure de JusticeCour de la Famille 469 Montreal St., Kingston, ON


  33. Supervised Access (Salvation Army) Description :  Provides a safe, neutral and child-focused setting for visits (supervision at the centre during entire length) and exchanges (time of exchange) between separated or divorced parents. Staff keep factual records for each exchange and visit. Times of arrival and departure are staggered so that parents do not have contact Office Phone -  613-542-8533E-mail: Website: www.kfla-supervisedaccess.comPrimary Contact:  Angela Anthony, Program Coordinator816 Centennial Drive, KingstonWednesday       1-6pmFriday                3-7pm342 Patrick Street, KingstonSaturday            9-4pmSunday              1-4pmEligibility:  Visits are court ordered, court recommended, or by self referral.Application: Contact office to schedule an intake appointmentFees are charged to both parties using the service and is based on income. * Report fees are charged only to the requesting party, but both parties and/or legal counsel will receive a copy

  34. The Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) defines the roles and responsibilities of Children’s Aid Societies and can be viewed on the Government of Ontario website: Section 37(2) of the CFSA: Defines the specific legal grounds under which children may be declared in need of protection To report a child in need of protection, please contact us at: 613-545-3227 or 1-855-445-3227. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Pour signaler un enfant ayantbesoin de protection, veuillez nous contacter au : 613-545-3227 or 1-855-445-3227. Nous sommesdisponibles 24 heures par jour, 7 jours par semaine.

  35. Office Locations: • 817 Division Street, KINGSTON • 99 Advance Avenue, NAPANEE • 1020 Elizabeth St, SHARBOT LAKE • 12497A Hwy #41, NORTHBROOK Main Number: (613) 545-3227 Toll-free Number: (855) 445-3227

  36. Children’s Mental Health Pathways • MCYS funds (no charge to family) • Most referrals from schools, MD, but will take from lawyers (esp. OCL) • Direct counselling to children plus parent support • Intake Number • 613.546.1422 ext. 1 • For emergencies after 4:30 p.m. and weekends please contact Frontenac Community Mental Health Services @ 613.544.4229

  37. More Resources

  38. Couple Counsellors Kingston Community Counselling Centre 613.549.7850 Vince Caccamo PhD 613.547.9814 Trish Crowe M.S.W. 613.548.4357 Deb Hudson M.S.W. 613.549.1739 Marilyn Kogon M.S.W., 613.531.8305 Deb Kowalik PhD 613.544.1065 Tania Nicholls, M.S.W. 613.452.1754 Gisele Pharand PhD 613.384.1014 Jim Rhodes M.S.W. 613.542.4488 Wendy Stewart PhD 613.531.3477 Carol White R.N. 613.546.0600 Chris Whynot M.S.W. 613.547.9814

  39. Post Separation Counselling and Parent Coaching • Kingston Community Counselling Centre 613.549.7850 • Colleen Abeles 613.547.5524 • Vince Caccamo PhD 613.547.9814 • Nicole Corbett, M.A. 613.453.1754 • Trish Crowe M.S.W. 613.548.4357 • Barbara Hill M.S.W. 613.888.2409 • Sabrina Tripolitano M.S.W. 613.214.1560

  40. Children & Adolescents • Better Beginnings (parenting groups) 613.542.2835 • Pathways for Children and Youth 613.546.1422 • Kelly Benn PhD 613.532.1536 • Su Buchanan PhD 613.331.1505 • Trish Crowe M.S.W. 613.548.4357 • Leonard Harris PhD 613.547.9814 • Barbara Hill M.S.W. 613.888.2409 • Erin McCormick PhD 613.539.4839 • Sian Phillips PhD 613.545.3053 • Sylvia Simonyi-Elmer PhD (play therapy) 613.548.0969 • Sabrina Tripolitano M.S.W. 613.214.1560