As a family lawyer I help clients find resources to guide them in co-parenting their children after divorce. In Alberta the Parenting After Separation course should be the first stop for parents, even before seeking legal advice. In my interviews with clients with children I tell them that attendance at the course will prevent them spending money on legal fees for me to inform them about issues that are covered in the free course. And of course, it will help them keep focussed on their children ahead of their conflict.
I like to tell clients who are at the front end of their separation journey a story which, even after my 28 years of family law practice, never fails to bring me to tears. It is about a young man, a friend of my son's, who was recently married. A year or two before his engagement, he had told me that his parents had fought every step of the way throughout his childhood, and he was the battleground. He casually mentioned that his only wish in life was that he could find a way to see them both at his wedding some day.
I was privileged to be invited to his wedding. The groom's party gathered at the front of the church, waiting for the bride to come down the aisle. But the young man was not with them. The music began and everyone stood for the bride's entrance. But it was not her turn. Coming down the aisle, smiling joyfully, was my young man. Holding his hands were his mother on the right, and his father on the left.
It was the bride's turn next, and I know she was beautiful. It was a magnificent wedding.
But as long as I live I will remember the young groom and the parents who got it right. Their public statement put the past behind them, and put the emphasis on making it right for their son.
To register in Alberta for the Parenting After Separation course in Edmonton call 780-413-9805. To find out more about Alberta's extensive Family Justice Services, go to www.albertacourts.ab.ca.