Family counselling and Long-Term Safeguards for Children in Richmond BC

Research has consistently shown us that it is not merely separation and divorce that causes harm to children – it is how the parents behave during the divorce that impacts the well-being of the children. If the children experience conflict between their parents during the divorce there is a greater likelihood of harm to the children.

We also know that children, while their parents are divorcing, may have difficulty understanding what is happening and why it is happening, may be unable to express their feelings and may develop lingering resentments or anger and display behavioural problems at home or school.

Our team of collaborative lawyers, divorce coaches and a child specialist provide the necessary expertise to guide parents through the process and minimize or eliminate harm to the children.

How a Child Specialist Can Help Your Family

A child specialist can help parents to find effective ways of communicating with their children, including:

  • How best to deliver to the children the message of the divorce, considering the ages of the children
  • How best to effectively respond to the children's questions
  • To understand the information that is appropriate for the children, depending on their ages and level of maturity
  • To understand how best to keep the children out of the middle of the disputes and the dangers of competing for the children's attention
  • How best to respectfully communicate with each other in the presence of the children

Modelling Respect throughout the Divorce Process

Parents who model effective dispute resolution and demonstrate respectful boundaries teach their children invaluable communication tools that will serve them well in relationships in the future. Transitioning through a respectful divorce can have positive benefits for your children!

The Way You Divorce Matters

Psychologists who have researched the effect of divorce on children over the years conclude that it's not the divorce that negatively impacts children – it's the conflict between the parents during the divorce that negatively impacts the children. Our goal is to help parents understand the importance of minimizing conflict and divorcing respectfully for the sake of their children.

Child Custody, Guardianship and Parenting Time Considerations for Divorcing Couples

If you are considering a divorce and have young children, their emotional well-being is undoubtedly your greatest concern. While research has proven the remarkable resiliency of children, the way that the parents conduct themselves throughout the divorcing process will largely determine the impact on the children. As the collaborative lawyers and divorce coaches will explain, the Collaborative Process will lessen the negative impact on the children and can provide counselling and parenting strategies as you navigate the changes in your life.

Understanding the Parenting Plan

As the nucleus of your restructuring, the parenting plan will provide guidance, order and structure for you and your children moving forward. The plan will include the parenting time, including, if need be holidays and special times and often addresses other matters that are of a concern to one or both of the parents. This can include such things as how to introduce a new partner to the children. These plans are customized for each family and address the needs and concerns that are unique to that family.

Guardianship and Parenting Time

Guardianship, parenting time and parenting responsibilities are matters that must be resolved. Our collaborative lawyers and divorce coaches will work diligently to ensure your parenting plan meets the best interests of you, your spouse and your children. A child specialist may be involved, depending on the specific needs of your children. The divorce coaches, and child specialist, if need be, must consider the following:

  • The child's health and emotional stability
  • The child's wishes (if age-appropriate)
  • The relationship between the child and all significant individuals in his or her life
  • The ability of all individuals seeking parenting time to exercise responsibilities
  • Any history of family violence
  • Any special needs of the child, parents or guardians
  • The history of cooperation between co-parents
  • Any criminal and civil legal backgrounds of all parties involved

Child Support in British Columbia

"The emphasis shifts from winning time with the kids to raising kids."

We have the Child Support Guidelines to be used when resolving child support. The collaborative lawyers can help you navigate these guidelines to reach a resolution for child support.

In the Family Law Act we no longer use words like "custody" and "access" as those terms are seen to imply a winner and a loser. We now use words like guardianship, parental responsibilities and parenting time in the hope that this contributes to a more positive and realistic relationship between separated parents in raising children together. The emphasis has shifted from winning time with the children to raising children together.

To determine the appropriate child support we focus on the reasonable income of each spouse and the amount of parenting time that each parent has with the children. In the Collaborative Process, the coaches meet with the parents to help them to determine the best living arrangements for the children (parenting time). Once parenting time has been determined, the collaborative lawyers work with the spouses to determine the child support obligations.

In addition to the basic monthly child support there are also “special expenses” to be considered. These expenses can be child care expenses, educational expenses that meet the child’s needs or extraordinary extracurricular expenses. The collaborative lawyers will help you to understand and resolve the obligations of the spouses for these expenses.

Richmond Divorce – Case Study

The Collaborative Process is best able to manage the emotions that often surround separation and divorce – the divorce coaches provide valuable guidance here. One of our collaborative lawyers was involved in a collaborative case in which the spouses had 2 teenaged children, both of which had a troubled relationship with their mother. Just prior to finalizing a resolution, the father, tragically and unexpectedly, was killed in a workplace accident. The divorce coaches continued to work with the mother and the two teenaged children and were able to guide them to develop a more stable and trusting long term relationship and in doing so, reunited the mother with the children.

Creative Solutions for Divorce

The above case study is not typical however far too many divorces involve only lawyers and judges and the emotional needs of the spouses and their children are not tended to during the divorce process. As a result, important relationships can be fractured and remain fractured. We believe that the Collaborative Process properly addresses not only the legal aspects of divorce but also the emotional aspects that so often surround divorce. If you are contemplating divorce and you have children, we recommend that you meet with a collaborative professional with the Collaborative Divorce Network.

Questions about Collaborative Divorce?

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We are easily reached by phone at 604-866-5949. You can also send us your questions via email, through our eform.

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Unmarried Spouses

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Children and Divorce

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Parenting Plans

A parenting plan is an agreement that separating parents develop together about how they will share parenting time and the day-to-day responsibilities of parenting…

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Separation Agreements

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Spouses without Children

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Cohabitation and Marriage Agreements

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Your Team


Collaborative Divorce Network



Shelley Behr

Divorce Coach/Child Specialist


Garth Edwards



Robert W. Mostar



Deirdre Severide



Danny Zack


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