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A Family Is A Family – LGBTQ & Divorce Mediation
Feb 10th, 2017 by Families First Mediation

LGBTQ families and Divorce Mediation – Support for ALL families.

I had an interesting comment conveyed to me the other day and it got me thinking – yes even on a Friday 🙂

I was reviewing a flyer and wanted to make sure that the wording was inclusive. I had a concern that the way something was worded could be perceived as only relating to a male-female, mom-dad family. I wanted to ensure that my LGBTQ clients would not be or feel left out. (I am not excluding grandparents, step parents or anyone else acting in place of a parent. This flyer was intended for parenting after separation or divorce and specific issues related to that.)

The response was not a concern about the change of wording but the comment “I didn’t know that you mediated with LGBTQ clients”. Of course I do. Why wouldn’t I? “I didn’t see it on your website.”

A family is a family. No two families are the same and each has their own special circumstances. It never occurred to me to single out any specific family type and let them know that yes, I did support them. I thought by not excluding anyone, I was including everyone. Perhaps that needed clarity, I’d honestly not thought about it.

Here’s what I can say and am comfortable saying. I love working with families. During separation and divorce, I love helping them move forward. I love hearing how they are all different – their values, beliefs, how they became a family, how to raise children and how those roles can change after separation or divorce.

I don’t care if a couple is common-law or married, same sex or not. I don’t care if there are multiple parents, step-parents, grandparents, sperm donors, surrogates, adoptions or any other combination of features within a family.

Each family I work with, shares their own unique story with me. For that I am always respectful and grateful that they trust me enough to do that.

Hoping to add some clarity – Families First Mediation supports ALL families.

Julie Gill Q.Med, CDFA

Owner and Principal Mediator

Families First Mediation

www.juliegill.ca

 

DIVORCE – You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know!
Jan 19th, 2015 by Families First Mediation

Have you been divorced before?

If not, you probably don’t know where to start or what to do!

That is not uncommon.

Divorce - You Don't Know What You Don't Know

Divorce – You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

I was sitting in the hospital today with my daughter trying to get her care. She was in a car accident a couple of weeks ago and is still struggling. Today the emergency doctor asked what has been happening since the accident and wanted to know why we were there. Although I knew what had led up to our hospital visit, the honest answer I gave him was “I just don’t know what to do”. That’s when it hit me. I sound just like my clients!!!! I just wanted help.

Does this sound familiar?

  • I don’t want to make a bad decision now that will cause harm in the future.
  • I don’t know what my next step should be.
  • I don’t know what professionals I need and how to get in touch with them.
  • I don’t want to miss anything.

Sounds like everyone going through a separation and/or divorce!

As confident as I am as a mediator that I can walk people through the process, their options and connect them with the right professionals – they don’t know me. I am asking them to put a lot of trust in me. Little old me.

Then I think about, how scary it is to be in a position that you never expected, you never planned and you have no idea how to manage.  Add to that the emotional turmoil, frustration and things not moving at the speed you would like and what do you have?  FEAR, plain and simple.

Only you can decide what is right for you. When I started typing “only you” all I could think about was “Only you can stop forest fires” haha, sorry back to the point. Gathering information, making sure that you are comfortable with the information you are being given and that you only act on the information that you feel is right is what will help alleviate that fear.

I think that those of use in the divorce industry need to get much better at helping people manage that fear. With information, with empathy and with empowerment.

We help people through a huge life transition and we have the power to make it a little easier and a little better. I really want to say A LOT better and A LOT easier but sometimes that is just wishful thinking no matter how could I am at my work.

Although you may not know what you DON’T know. You do know what you DO know and what you feel.

  • Question everything.
  • Only make informed decisions.
  • Do what you feel is right in your gut or your heart; whichever one you trust more.

Just make sure you are comfortable with the information that you have gathered, that you make the best decisions based on your situation and that you can move on without feeling that you missed something.

All I can do with my daughter is my best. All you can do through your separation is your best. And YES your best is good enough.

Julie Gill

Mediator and Owner

Families First Mediation

Durham Region, Ontario

Parenting Plans & Teens…How To Handle Changes
Oct 7th, 2014 by Families First Mediation

You have been divorced for 6 years. Your parenting plan did an excellent job of identifying when each of you would be the “active” parent and spend time with your kids. It set out how you were going to parent, how you would handle holidays, expenses and how you as parents would make changes to the plan.

parenting teen

 

Surprise, surprise, your 15 year old has decided that your parenting plan no longer works for him/her. Did you discuss during your separation how you would handle changes that were initiated by your children?

Read the rest of this entry »

Divorce: The Best Interests Of The Children…Or The Parents?
Sep 29th, 2014 by Families First Mediation

We hear it all of the time in the Divorce Industry – decisions should be made in the ‘Best interests of the Children”. Seems rather obvious right?

note-from-amy

 

You and the other parent may have different opinions of what decisions are in your children’s best interest. You don’t agree and that’s ok. You were always going to disagree on some aspects of parenting even if you had stayed together.

You can both be looking out for your children’s best interests but believe that can be obtained in different ways. That doesn’t make either of your right or wrong, it’s just life.

Separation is change and how you manage it will dictate how successfully your children will get through it. Read the rest of this entry »

DIVORCE – Having Your Day In Court.
May 8th, 2014 by Families First Mediation

I hear people say all the time that they don’t want to deal with their ex to sort through separation issues. Sure, I can relate to that. In some cases, specifically where there is domestic violence, power imbalances or an unwilling party, court is a necessary evil. But for the others that say “when a judge hears my side…”, “I will take you to court so that you never see your kids”, “I will convince a judge that I should get everything”, I just cringe. These are statements made by people that are hurt but not well informed.  Read the rest of this entry »

Changes To The Family Law Process In Ontario Are Still Needed
Mar 5th, 2013 by Families First Mediation

Here’s a letter that I wrote back in 2010 to a person that wanted support from someone in the “divorce industry’ to help them with their battle to change the Family Law Process. I had the added (dis)advantage of having also personally gone through it. I just found it and had a quick read. I still feel strongly that lawyers and mediators should work together more to benefit our clients. I have however softened a little as I have met some wonderful lawyers that ARE client focused. Have a read and let me know what you think. I’d love the feedback.

I’m writing this letter in support of your efforts to bring awareness to the changes so desperately needed in the current family law process. Read the rest of this entry »

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