What is your background?

I have extensive training in alternative modalities with regards to relationships. I also have training in Collaborative Law and Mediation. In addition to that, I trained under Dr. Bruce Fisher who is the author or the Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends and Founder of the Fisher Institute in Colorado. I went to Colorado to train specifically with him and to learn about rebuilding after divorce. I have been teaching the Rebuilding for over 20 years and mediating for over 10 years.

What made you want to become a mediator?

Well there are three reasons. One reason was when I was going through my own divorce it was very difficult. I was a single mother to two little children and I was I hitting rock bottom. I was devastated and hurt. I noticed that I had to go to all these different places for different services for myself and my daughters. The lawyer’s office downtown, counselling for myself in one place, counselling for my children in another. I also noticed that mediation was not promoted and it was not as readily available as it is today. So many people go right to a lawyer’s office because they believe that that is the only option.

The second reason was when I started teaching the Rebuilding Workshop I noticed that so many people did not know about mediation and did not know where to find the resources. It was at that time that I wanted to create the Separation & Divorce Resource Centre where people could find everything they needed under one roof.

The third reason was for the children. Children so often get lost in the shuffle of divorce and get plowed over by the Family Law System. Families get torn apart and so much anger and hate come from the battles in the court room. I believe that through mediation we can help families to separate in a much more respectful and caring way so that we can minimize the amount of hate and anger that follows. If we are able to do that then co-parenting is much easier and the children so not suffer as much.

What should people know about you?

I’m a straight shooter and anyone who knows me knows that I get right down to business. This translates to my mediation and my teaching because I don’t like to waste time and drag things on. I like to help people to help themselves and I like to do it in the most efficient way possible. People don’t need to be tied up in their separation process for months and years. Another thing people should know is that I am extremely child focused with everything that I do but especially with mediation. The children in any case are always my priority.

How do you feel the SDRC is different?

Our mandate is to help our clients in the most time and cost effective way possible. We want to get results, therefore we tend to stay away from long drawn out processes that often leave people with high bills and wasted time. Our clients can generally go through the mediation process and have their agreement within 1-2 months depending on the case.

What do you wish people knew about mediation?

I wish people knew that it was not as complicated as it seems and that if they can just work together somewhat then we can have results. I wish people knew how much better it was for children that they work together and figure out a way to do this all amicably. I wish people knew that you don’t have to spend thousands and thousands on lawyers’ fees and that it does not have to be so adversarial.

How do you think people can prepare for mediation?

I usually recommend that people bring with them anything pertaining to their financials such as most recent Notice of Assessments, mortgages, car loans, anything to do with any debts or assets. After our first meeting I have a better of idea of there is anything else that I need.

If you could tell the people who are just separating one thing what would it be?

There is a better way. There is a holistic approach. You can get through it without the fighting, the lawyers, the back and forth and the courts. I wish people knew that often it is not the divorce that causes the most impact on the children but the way the divorce is handled.