Ottawa Family lawyer provides tips on minimizing family conflict

I have been practicing conflict resolution for ten years.  Here is a basic model to help people resolve their disputes in a family setting.

Basic conflict resolution model:

1.  STOP before you lose control of your temper and make things worse.

2.  SAY what you want.

3.  LISTEN to the other person’s ideas.

4.  THINK of possible solutions

5.  If you still can’t agree ask someone else to help work it out.

1.  STOP

Don’t have an important discussion when you are upset.  Plan a time with the other party that makes sense (I recommend Sunday evenings, or Friday afternoons).  Come prepared to the meeting and address the issue with respect.

2.   SAY

If you are the person with the issue then it is your responsibility to communicate it.  Framing the issue is of the utmost importance in order to work towards resolution.   Do not disparage or “attack” the other party when framing the issue.  A basic rule of thumb is to frame the issue in terms of your own needs, as opposed to how you would like the other party to contribute towards resolution.

Example:

“You need to come home earlier.”  or

“You always come home late.”  vs.

“I’m really tired from being with the baby all day and I really need a break by 6 p.m.”

Very subtle difference in language and tone but it can go along way to reducing conflict.  Most dysfunctional or chronic conflict contains an element of power/control – one party having an issue and attempting to control the other’s behaviour in order to resolve the issue.

3. LISTEN

You have to understand what the problem is before you can solve it.   Listen, ask questions,   and confirm what you understand  the issue to be.  Dig down and get it to a very basic level.  “OK – so basically – by 6 p.m. you are strung out and need to have a break.  It’s not that you necessarily need me home, but that you need to rest because you are at your limit.”

4.  THINK

Now it’s time to start spitballing.  The key to success in this step is to resist the urge to evaluate (and probably shoot down) potential solutions.  At the outset simply record the ideas and encourage discussion.  Talk about what you can do, as opposed to what you can’t.”

“I can’t come home on Mondays, but I can do Fridays.”

“Even if I had three days I think I could manage the other two.”

“Who are some people we could ask for help?”

5.    GET HELP

If two parties can’t agree on a possible solution then it becomes necessary to engage a third party to help resolve the dispute.  Usually the third party is either a mediator, arbitrator, or an expert, but it can ultimately be anything.  Roll dice, high card, paper rock scissor, whatever the parties agree to.  Try anything that gives both sides what they want.  The idea at this stage isn’t to resolve the dispute, but to agree on how the dispute will be resolved.

“We’re at an impasse.  What do you say we’ll try it your way for two weeks, and then my way for two weeks.  We’ll see what works and then come back and try again.”

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Top Five Tips from Ottawa Real Estate Lawyer

1.  Don’t buy and sell on the same day

It is important to leave a few days in between your real estate purchase and real estate sale closings.  Banks and mortgage companies are able to offer clients “bridge” financing to cover the gap between the purchase and the sale.   Closings can be delayed and planning to do both on the same day is not recommended.

2.   Budget for the unknown

Being house poor can put unnecessary stress on new homeowners.  Once you own the home there are several up-front expenses (window treatments, fixtures, renovations) that can drain your pocketbook and have your worrying about your bank account.  Do yourself a favour and leave room for the unknown.  Have a reserve fund.

3.  Home Inspections

Real estate lawyers recommend that both purchasers and vendors acquire home inspections for their real estate transactions.  While home inspections are standard for purchasers, there are also several benefits for vendors.  They identify potential issues up front for potential buyers.  This will prevent any re-negotiation of the sale price once the potential buyer learns of the defects.  It may also protect the vendor from post-closing lawsuits by having the issues tabled prior to closing.  Finally, it shows good faith on the part of the vendor.

4.  Cleanliness is important

There is nothing more disappointing for a new home owner than walking into their expensive new home to find it littered with someone else’s crap.  It happens more than it should, and while the real estate lawyer will obtain a closing document that says it will be clean, no one wants to sue in small claims court over minor issues.  Have your realtor insert a clause that allows for an inspection 24 hours prior to closing.  If there is still junk ask for a $500.00 holdback of the closing funds to cover any potential cleaning costs.  That will ensure that the vendors leave the property in broom-swept condition.

5.  Be ready

Stay on top of your closing.  Put a call into your real estate lawyer a few days prior (or send an email.)  Make sure that you have the funds in place for closing as well as insurance.  Bring two pieces of ID to your appointment.  Staying organized can make a difference.

If you are buying or selling a home complete an intake form here and our office will be in touch.   Alternatively you can email info@ottawalawyer.com or call (613) 233-7000.

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Finding an Ottawa Family Lawyer

Having your family structure change is traumatic.  Going through a separation is a difficult time and it is important that you have a competent guide to help you through the process. If you are looking for a Family Law Lawyer in Ottawa then please consider Delaney’s Law Firm as your first choice.  The firm’s  family law lawyers are tried and tested and are there to provide you with the advise and support that you need to help with your transition.   If you are looking for an Ottawa Family Lawyer look no further.

Disaster scenarios to avoid when dealing with a family law lawyer:

1)  “I want the best lawyer money can buy!”

You will pay, that’s for sure.  You’ll pay for  fancy offices, high salaries, and expensive Christmas parties.  The message that you are trying to send is that it’s important to you and that your spouse has hurt you deeply.  That you want the best possible outcome.  Don’t spend $100,000 to send that message.

2) “I want someone who will fight for me!”

It’s fairly easy for family law lawyers to throw gas on the fire in order to keep their billables nice and warm.  Divorce naturally creates feelings of contempt and blame.  Find a lawyer that will advocate for you without ratcheting up the family conflict.  The goal is to reduce the conflict.  Most clients don’t believe that it is possible.  Most mediators know better as do family law lawyers.  Conflict is temporary and will only last as long as there is fuel for the fire.

3)  “I need someone with experience.”

Experience helps, but it’s not the be all and end all.  The majority of family law files requires time and attention, not experience.  Most junior counsel have the necessary skill sets very early on in their practice to tackle basic family law issues.  They’ll have senior counsel available to help them with any unusual issues that need arise.  There are plenty of good lawyers in Ottawa with 2-3 years experience.

4) “My friend told me…”

Don’t rely on people who aren’t lawyers for legal advice.  It’s foolish, and a poor choice during a crucial time in your life.  Go with a pro.  Get it done right.

Need a lawyer in Ottawa?

If you need a lawyer in Ottawa, you have come to the right place.  Our site features a cross-section of some of the best and brightest lawyers in Ottawa today.  Whether you need a family lawyer, personal injury lawyer, real estate lawyer, or someone more specialized we will be able to assist.

Delaney’s Law Firm is a nearly paperless office located at 352 Elgin Street in Ottawa, Ontario.  The firm was established in 2006 by it’s founder, Bryan Delaney.  There are currently five lawyers practicing in the firm in a variety of different practice areas.

The law firm operates on Apple computers, iPhones, and has been recognized as a leader in incorporating the use of technology in the practice of law.  This edge allows our lawyers to be more efficient with their time, more responsive to client needs, and more informed about the current trends in the law today.  Check out our Facebook and Twitter pages to keep up to date on the firm’s contributions and current events.

If you’d like to get started with us send an email at info@delaneys.ca or call (613) 233-7000.  You can also complete one of our handy intake forms here!

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