Posted on January 4, 2014 · Posted in Blog

British Columbia Families Are Better Protected Today

The new training and practice standards that came into effect on January 1, 2014 were long overdue. The new standards were added to British Columbia’s new Family Law Act that came into effect in March of 2013, and screening for family violence is now a requirement of all professionals assisting in family matters.

no family violence

“We believe that BC is leading the way in recognizing that family violence often accompanies marital breakdown.” said divorce mediator Kristy Bieker.

Ms. Bieker goes on to say, “Our legislators are listening to their constituents who are calling for a fresh approach to addressing marital break down, including the preferred use of mediation. Family courts and judges are overworked, and research shows that up to 40% of individuals who go through divorce using the traditional system end up below the poverty line.”

Ms. Bieker says that her experience gained over the past 10 years as a divorce mediator shows that mediation saves time, money and stress.

“Divorce can be one of the most financially devastating events in two peoples’ lives. Money spent getting mad, or getting even, is wasted money,” Kristy said. “It shouldn’t cost you and arm and a leg, nor a significant amount of time, to move on independent of each other.”

“And remember that adults divorce; children do not,” Kristy noted. “By keeping lines of communication open and proceeding as amicably as possible, you can help your children transition smoothly to a two-household lifestyle. That’s one of the goals of mediation.”

The new BC Family Law Act requires all mediators and lawyers to take a minimum of 14 hours of focused training on how to screen for and identify family violence, as well as power imbalances. Kelowna Divorce Mediation Services has also created a resource list to help those requiring it. You can access this list by clicking HERE.

“90% of our cases are successfully concluded, and for those few that end with 1 or 2 issues left to resolve, we don’t feel they were unsuccessful because they’ve saved thousands of dollars and tons of time to get that far,” says Kristy.

“I applaud our legislators for having the foresight to recognize the importance of these changes because the traditional system has proven to be a dismal failure in bringing cost-effective, timely resolution to family dispute matters.”

We have also written an accompanying article called “Spot the Signs” which highlights recent research on domestic violence.
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