New P.E.I. group hopes to make divorce process more peaceful

Ryan Ross
Published on May 15, 2014
Collaborative Practice P.E.I.

Divorce is never easy, but a new group in P.E.I. is hoping a different approach will at least make the process more peaceful.

Today will see the public launch of Collaborative Practice P.E.I. (CPPEI), which will try to help Islanders going through divorce to connect with professionals who can help them resolve family disputes without going through the courts.

Jacinta Gallant has been one of a group of lawyers practising collaborative law in P.E.I. for about eight years and said having someone involved in the case who is neutral can help get people focused on solutions that work for everybody.

“If you want to compare this process to people who go to court and have a judge decide, there’s really no question it results in more peaceful interactions,” she said.

Although some lawyers have been practising collaborative law in P.E.I. for several years, work on CPPEI has been underway for about a year and a half.

The new organization adds financial and family professionals to the divorce process as they work alongside lawyers.

Anyone involved in collaborative practice has to undergo training and CPPEI has 12 lawyers, seven family professionals and four financial specialists listed on its website.

Gallant said families involved with collaborative professionals for their divorce can move through the process at their own pace while the professionals work with them to find solutions.

Emotions can still be high, but the legal advisors have a goal of finding a settlement, which is less destructive than having clients compete with each other in court, she said.

“We know that that tends to result in two losers.”

Gallant said almost every case involving collaborative professionals ends with both sides settling.

“This is almost always successful.”

While she touted the benefits of a collaborative approach, Gallant said it’s not a matter of bashing the courts, but the court process can have a destructive effect on families.

“When you’ve got parents trying to make a decision about what to do with their kids it’s hardly ever the best place.”

CPPEI will have its public launch Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown.