Mediating a Cohabitation or Marriage Contract

Parties who find themselves wanting a cohabitation agreement or marriage contract will quickly find that those discussions are sensitive and emotionally charged. Sometimes there is additional pressure exerted on the parties by family who recommend such a contract be put in place.

It is vitally important that the parties be able to communicate the reasons why one or both may want such a contract as a precondition to living together or marrying. They both need to be clear as to their expectations and intentions for such a contract. These discussions need to be handled in a sensitive way, exploring the reasons and need for a contract and exploring options that may be available to meet both parties interests and needs.
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Calculating Child and Spousal Support

Child support is calculated according to the Child Support Guidelines which is a table that stipulates the amount of child support based on income  and the number of dependent children.

Child support is normally adjusted annually with the most current income being used to make any appropriate adjustment to the support amount.

As a guide to determining the amount of spousal support , the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are used . These guidelines generate a range of spousal support .

Most separation agreements or court orders for support include a provision for an annual review of child support. I often get requests to assist parties in determining the  adjustment to the child support amount. [Read more…]

Mediator’s Brief – Issue 1, February 2017

Malcolm Bennett is pleased to author a newsletter regarding family law and alternative dispute resolution, The Mediator’s Brief.  This issue highlights Private Case Management for Mediation and Arbitration and features an article by Louise Vandenbosch titled “Teaching Your Clients How to Make A BIFF® Response”. [Read more…]

Co-Parenting – A New Approach

A mother and stepmother who co-parent together are hoping to inspire other blended families to move past disagreements and create conflict-free spaces for their children. Read the full article published on CBC News on December 12, 2016, here.

McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP acquires Bluewater Mediation

McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP is pleased to announce the acquisition of Bluewater Mediation following the appointment of Lene Madsen, past principal mediator with Bluewater Mediation, to judge of the Superior Court of Justice and a member of the Family Court in Hamilton this August.

“This acquisition was a great opportunity for McKenzie Lake to build a broader offering of mediation and other areas of dispute resolution for our firm going forward” said John McNair, Managing Partner.

With over 40 years of experience, Malcolm Bennett will be continuing Bluewater Mediation’s commitment to family mediation, arbitration, teaching and training.

In addition to the above services, Malcolm also offers mediation in Estate matters and Elder mediation.  As an accredited Family Mediator, he brings his knowledge, understanding and skills to assist in the resolution of family disputes in considerate, respectful and co-operative manner through mediation.

Alfred Mamo, also an accredited Family Mediator with over 40 years of experience in family law, spends the majority of his time conducting mediation and assisting parties and their lawyers and will also be providing services to lawyers and clients, primarily servicing the Toronto area.  Alf is committed to ensuring that the most appropriate dispute resolution strategy is developed and carried out in the most cost effective and timely fashion.

To find out more about these services and availability, please contact us today at

The Changing Face of Advocacy

This article discusses why we all need to change the way in which we deliver our services.  The new form of advocacy is essential for the new lawyer and it may be perhaps easier for him or her to adopt than those of us who have done it the same way for many years.  Read full article here.

Tips on Drafting A Mediation Brief

A mediation brief is not a pleading, factum or novel.  Your clients have chosen mediation to reach a resolution, to avoid or end litigation and try to arrive at a solution that is acceptable to both parties.  To learn about some practice tips for writing your mediation brief, read the article here.

A Friendly Guide to the pleasures and perils of alternative dispute resolution

This is the first in a series of Mediator newsletters written by Malcolm Bennett in order to offer the opportunity for dialogue and information and hopefully provide some value to counsel and parties thinking of using mediation and/or arbitration.  To read the full newsletter please click here.

NEWS: Divorcing with dignity: How modern exes are treating a split as an awakening By Zosia Bielski of Globe and Mail

globe- and-mail-zosia-divorce-article


“Some 41 per cent of marriages will dissolve before the 30th anniversary, according to Statistics Canada data from 2008, the last year the agency collected divorce information.

Even as Canadians live longer and struggle to maintain long-term monogamous unions, many have been rethinking how they want to end those unions.”

“Today, many of these exes are actively trying to drop the antagonistic timbre of separation. They’re choosing collaborative divorce and hiring mediators to avoid adversarial litigation and high court costs. They’re seeking out specialized therapists, divorce coaches and “divorce doulas” to calm the waters.”

Read about one couple’s experience of moving from marriage through divorce to an amicable, kind, and healthy co-parenting relationship:

The exes (Max Quijano and Kristin Taylor) had an enviably amicable divorce. They separated in 2008 after five years of marriage: The fighting (plus having little in common) was making them profoundly unhappy. Taylor resisted the split initially, clinging to “some imaginary perfect life.” A stint in therapy helped her understand they’d survive a divorce: “He’s a good dad. I’m a good mom. We make a terrible couple.”

Quijano moved out but returned to the family home every morning to see his son and daughter off to daycare, picking them up in the afternoons.

Read more about their story and the full article from Zosia Bielski of the Globe and Mail:

NEWS: 18 Things You Can’t Get in Court by Lorne Wolfson


The Lawyers Weekly

Eighteen Things You Can’t Get in Court

by Lorne Wolfson

[Article in Full Below]

“Skilled family mediators and negotiators will emphasize to parties the things they can obtain in a settlement, but not from a court.”

Here are 18 of them:

1. Confidentiality

The courts are very reluctant to order the sealing of a court file. Since a reported decision may attract the attention of creditors, Canada Revenue Agency, Children’s Aide, the police, professional discipline bodies, business competitors, even the media, confidentiality can be important to many spouses.

2. Non-variability of support

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