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Posts tagged ‘pre-separation legal advice’

Are Some People Genetically Destined for Divorce?

Are Some People Genetically Destined for Divorce?

Some surmise that children of divorce may experience a greater chance of divorce when they grow up because of their environment. Recent studies and news reports suggest that when it comes to divorce history may indeed repeat itself but not for the reasons you may think.

Studies and prior literature emphasized that divorce was transmitted across generations psychologically and as a result of environmental factors.

However, recent studies  “contradict that, suggesting that genetic factors are more important.”

Jessica Salvatore, Ph.D. reports that:

The study’s findings are notable because they diverge from the predominant narrative in divorce literature, which suggests that the offspring of divorced parents are more likely to get divorced themselves because they see their parents struggling to manage conflict or lacking the necessary commitment, and they grow up to internalize that behavior and replicate it in their own relationships.

[The study] analyzed Swedish population registries and found that people who were adopted resembled their biological — but not adoptive — parents and siblings in their histories of divorce.

By recognizing the role that genetics plays in the intergenerational transmission of divorce, therapists may be able to better identify more appropriate targets when helping distressed couples, Salvatore states:

“At present, the bulk of evidence on why divorce runs in families points to the idea that growing up with divorced parents weakens your commitment to and the interpersonal skills needed for marriage. So, if a distressed couple shows up in a therapist’s office and finds, as part of learning about the partners’ family histories, that one partner comes from a divorced family, then the therapist may make boosting commitment or strengthening interpersonal skills a focus of their clinical efforts.”

So how does free will and fault play into divorce in light of these findings?

In Ontario, we operate a no-fault divorce process:

Under the Divorce Act, you do not need to prove that your spouse was at fault in order to get a divorce. If the reason you are asking for a divorce is marriage breakdown, shown by one year of living apart, either of you can request a divorce. It does not matter which one of you decided to leave. In fact, the law gives you the choice of applying to the court together to ask for a divorce.
However, if the reason you are asking for a divorce is marriage breakdown because of adultery or mental or physical cruelty, you will have to have proof of what happened.

As a result, someone’s genetic disposition, as it relates divorce, will not shape the outcome of the divorce proceeding. But as Dr Salvatore’s study suggest, this information would be helpful in therapy and focusing clinical efforts on boosting commitment or strengthening interpersonal skills.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at

Elliot Vine Joins Russell Alexander as an Associate Lawyer


Elliot Vine Joins Russell Alexander as an Associate Lawyer

Elliot joins Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers as an associate lawyer.  Elliot practices family law, including pre-separation legal advice, custody and access, support issues, separation agreements and property-related issues. Elliot resolves  conflicts in a quick and efficient manner.

Elliot will work in all three of our offices: Markham, Brooklin and the City of Kawartha Lakes. He graduated from Queen’s University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Economics where he earned awards for high academic achievement. Elliot completed his Juris Doctorate from Queen’s University, receiving his law degree in 2012. Prior to working at Russell Alexander Elliot practiced Family Law with a firm in Kingston and with a Certified Specialist in Family Law.

Elliot enjoys meeting new people and the challenge of getting the best possible results for his clients. He is an avid public speaker and loves to debate. Elliot also looks forward to developing a Collaborative Practice.

Elliot plays a wide variety of sports. He enjoys trying new restaurants, reading fiction and is interested in improving his ability to sail. After growing up in North York, Elliot is excited to serve clients in and around his new home.

Announcing the Launch of Ontario Divorce Help



Ontario Divorce Help, Divorce FAQs & Education Resources

Developed by legal counsel at Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers, Ontario Divorce Help is an online resource that delivers answers to many common questions about Ontario family law. From the initial stages of marital separation, to longer-term disputes related to issues such as child custody or support payments, we answer the most frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) that we hear about marital disputes in Ontario, Canada.

While the majority of our website is delivered in this “Question and Answer” format, we are also a growing resource and looking to add new material collections — and in a variety of formats! So please keep an eye on us, and consider subscribing to our latest materials.

One word of warning to our readers, however: No part of this website should be relied upon as ‘legal advice’. Each situation has its own context, and the law, of course, changes. If you need advice you can count on, please contact our offices.

Ontario Family Mediation is a Good Thing – But it’s Not the Only Thing


Ontario Family Mediation is a Good Thing – But it’s Not the Only Thing

Everyone knows that litigation of any type can be time-consuming and expensive. In Family Law in particular – where high-conflict situations between the parties are heightened by emotional considerations – disputes can be dragged through the courts for literally years and years.

Not surprisingly, there has been increasing interest in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms for Family Law disputes especially. Amongst the options available, mediation is a particularly popular choice because it involves a voluntary process involving trained mediators who assist Family Law litigants to resolve their issues. Indeed, relatively recently the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General has made Family Mediation Services available right in the family court locations, although private third-parties can be used as well. In either case, parties can obtain the assistance of these third parties to help them resolves disputes that arise in connection with relationship breakdowns, including child custody, access and support, and equalization of net family property.

But while mediation is a good idea in both theory and practice, it cannot be the only step that parties take to try to resolve their Family Law disputes. This is because mediation is not intended to replace good legal advice.

Rather, for each party in a dispute, mediation is a step that ideally should be “sandwiched” between obtaining legal advice from an experienced lawyer, before and after.

This is because mediators have a defined role, and one that is relatively narrow. Specifically they:

• Must be independent and neutral (i.e. cannot take sides);

• Cannot give advice to either party;

• Cannot make decisions for the parties.

(Indeed by definition mediators are neutral third-party participants in the dispute-resolution process; they are sometimes lawyers by training but equally often are social workers or psychologists).

As such, it is important for a couple considering mediation as an ADR option to speak to their individual lawyers long before they seek out the services of a mediator. By doing so, they can each obtain tailored legal advice as to the governing law in their particular situation, can get guidance on their respective legal positions, and can have the possibilities for acceptable areas of compromise flushed out for them. All of the steps, made with a lawyer’s assistance, are fundamental prerequisites to reaching a mutually-agreeable mediated settlement. (And it should also be noted that lawyers usually do not attend mediation with their clients.)

In addition, the parties must avail themselves of legal advice after the mediation process has been tentatively concluded: any purported agreement that is reached during mediation must be reviewed with the parties’ individual lawyers, to ensure that it accurately and comprehensively reflects the desired resolution that was reached.

The bottom line: Mediation can be a worthwhile process for resolving Family Law disputes. But while it can eliminate costly time in court, it is neither a standalone process nor a replacement for good legal advice.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at