While separating is usually riddled with conflict, there are some cases in family court that are particularly more adversarial than others. This conflict is challenging to manage and without appropriate resources, may have a lasting impact on children if they are exposed to the conflict. This is particularly true when there are one or more of the following issues affect the family including:
- mental health issues present with one or both of the parties or child/ren;
- substance or addiction problem;
- criminal charges laid against a parent;
- domestic abuse;
- service provider(s) involved with the family such as the Children’s Aid Society, etc.
Compounding these issues is the fact that the court process can be slow and costly, financially and emotionally taxing on all parties, including the children.
In order to address these growing issues in family court, the Ottawa Family Court has introduced a Case Management Project (“CMP”) to deal with high conflict matters.
A family law matter that is in the court system can enter into the CMP at any time throughout court proceedings but it would be preferable to enter the program when the court case is started and before the first court appearance.
There are several advantages to the CMP including:
- You will appear before the same Judge until your matter goes to Trial, if needed;
- Your matter will get an earlier Trial date;
- The parties will be referred to a service advisory group consisting of mental health professionals who will review the court documents and meet with the parties individually. The advisory group will write a report and provide recommendations for community services available to the family. The cost of this report (approximately $2,500.00) is now being funded by a grant received. This report will not replace a family assessment which may be required.
In order to participate in the program, both parties will need to consent and obtain independent legal advice. An Intake Form must be completed and submitted by both parties. Once the advisory group report is completed, a Judge will be assigned to the court case. This program is available to both English and Bilingual family court matters.
If you would like more information about the program, please contact me. Remember that when separating, there are options available.