Imagine this. It’s Christmas, and your family and relatives are over for dinner. After the turkey, mashed potatoes, and the other fixings have been passed around, you politely ask your brother-in-law to pass the gravy. As he reaches for the gravy, he kindly tells you and your wife how wonderful the dinner is, and then decides to invite you and your family to his and your sister’s mortgage burning party. Your fork slips from your fingers and clangs on your plate. What? How’s that possible? Your sister is five years younger than you! Last year it was the vacation home, and the year before it was the Porsche. “That’s it,” you say to yourself. “It’s time to get my finances in order!” And this time you mean it. The problem is, you don’t know where to start. You need help. So at that moment, you decide you are going to hire a financial planner. If this was you, then which would you hire: a financial planner who is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), or a financial planner who isn’t? The odds are, you would choose the financial planner who is a CFP. Why? Because the CFP designation identifies individuals who have met rigorous professional standards as determined by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board), and are therefore, authorized by the CFP Board to use the CFP mark. In other words, they are qualified.
When it comes to hiring a mediator, the same logic holds true. When a couple is facing divorce the conventional process is for each individual to hire a lawyer and enter into litigation prior to dissolving their marriage. However, mediation is an alternative to litigation that is becoming a more popular choice to resolve issues relating to property division, spousal support, child support, and parenting. But how do you know if a divorce mediator is qualified?
Not all divorce mediators are equal. So, just like the earlier scenario of hiring a financial planner, you should start with someone who is qualified. Accreditation is an important qualification that distinguishes a mediator who is suitably trained, qualified, and insured from one who may not be. In Canada, that means choosing a Qualified Mediator (Q.Med.), or a Chartered Mediator (C.Med), which is granted by the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Institute of Canada.
The ADR Institute of Canada states:
“The Qualified Mediator designation is to recognize members who have completed sufficient mediation and related dispute resolution training to be qualified to practice as mediators. It is an intermediate step for mediators working to receive their Chartered Mediator designation. The credential will assist the public to select a mediator who has been reviewed to determine if that mediator is qualified by training to conduct mediations.
The designation assists the mediator by providing a nationally recognized credential to show that the mediator has met nationally and regionally set standards for training and/or experience as a mediator.
The Chartered Mediator designation recognizes a “generalist competence” at a high level; the goal being to assist the public in finding experienced and qualified mediators.
These designations allow our members to convey their level of experience and skill to prospective users of their services based on an objective third party assessment.
Users of ADR services or lawyers and other professionals referring clients feel confident knowing that when they choose an ADR professional with a designation granted by ADR Canada they are choosing an individual whose performance has been reviewed and assessed by a committee of senior and respected practitioners who have verified that the professional is working at a particular level.
Highly experienced members can apply for the Chartered Mediator (C.Med) and the Chartered Arbitrator (C.Arb), designations. These designations are known and respected across Canada and internationally. These are the most senior designation offered by the Institute.”
At Leap! Divorce Solutions, our Mediation Specialists are accredited as a Chartered Mediator from ADR Institute of Canada, which is provided through its regional affiliate, the ADR Institute of Alberta (ADRIA).
Furthermore, our Divorce Mediation Specialists are also a Registered Family Mediator of Alberta from Alberta Family Mediation Society specializing in Separation and Divorce Mediation.
As of January 1, 2014, all family law mediators in the province of British Columbia have to meet minimum training and practice standards to comply with the Province’s Family Law Act. Specifically, a family law mediator must have at least two years experience in a family-related field, and take specified training in family law, mediation theory and skills development, and family violence. At the present time, the Province of Alberta does not have this requirement; however, at Leap! Divorce Solutions, we want to be ahead of the standards and legislation requirements. Our Divorce Mediations Specialists have a Bachelor-level degree, over 200 hours of Conflict Resolution training, and have completed 40 hours of Separation and Divorce Mediation training that include teaching on the division of property, the creation of parenting plans, the calculation of child support, and the determination of spousal support. Finally, our Divorce Mediation Specialists must complete a minimum of 20 hours of continued professional development to ensure their memberships are active and in good standing.
Couples going through divorce and separation face numerous day-to-day financial challenges. At Leap! Divorce Solutions, our Divorce Mediation Specialists are not only certified professional mediators, they are also accredited as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst from Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. It is important to note that a CDFA™ designation does not certify an individual as a qualified divorce mediator. Rather, the CDFA™ designation is granted by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA™) to certify individuals as professionals in the financial issues of divorce. The IDFA™ states: “the role of the CDFA™ is to assist the client and his/her lawyer to understand how the financial decisions he/she makes today will impact the client’s financial future.”
At Leap! Divorce Solutions we believe it is important to combine mediation with financial knowledge as it specifically relates to divorce to assist our Divorce Mediation Specialists to creatively search for the best possible resolutions for our clients as it pertains to the division of property, and the calculation of spousal support and child support.
So, you have made one of the most difficult decisions in your life, and you feel anxious and uncertain about your future and what lies ahead. Who are you going to choose?
Choose Leap! Divorce Solutions. We are qualified to facilitate you through this challenging process. “Confidence to move forward” is not just our motto. It’s our mission.