Ronald J. Smith, QC
ph: 250-878-4716
1444 Alta Vista Rd., Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 6L1


Beyond Getting to Yes Share on FacebookTweetEmail story
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Tuesday, September 27th, 2016



Whether we act as counsel or as mediator, we need to be ware of the limitations of our role.  We need to limit our behavior to "do no harm".



Resolving Conflict in Marriage Share on FacebookTweetEmail story
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Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Resolving Conflict in Marriage Separation – Alternatives to Going to Court


“They say that breaking up is hard to do” – so go the words of an old 1960’s song.   Anyone going through the break-up of a long term relationship knows the truth of those words.  When parties separate, feelings of loss, betrayal, anger and guilt come flooding to the fore, leaving thought processes paralysed.


If you are recently separated, begin with the understanding that you are grieving, and that you need help with your feelings.  A qualified family counsellor can assist you in dealing with your emotions.  During that process, you should begin answering this question: “What do I want my life to look like after all my marital issues are resolved?”


If there are no pressing legal issues that need resolving, giving yourself time to heal can be beneficial to arriving at an agreement with your spouse that satisfies both your needs.  Court applications are a hostile start up to the negotiation process, and can infect both the tone and outcome of subsequent negotiations.  Consider this only if there are immediate concerns that cannot be dealt with through agreement between the parties.


“Doesn’t let’s talk sound better than see you in court?”  Hostile court applications are real barriers to the ability to reach an agreement that you can live with.  Talking is difficult when feelings are high.  Court applications heighten the emotional level of the already existing conflicts.   Mediation offers a means of lowering the emotional level so you can get in touch with your future needs.


A mediation is a meeting between the parties (and their lawyer if they so wish), and a neutral professional mediator.  The goal of the mediator is to assist you in communicating your needs and wishes, and facilitate a final settlement of outstanding issues.  Mediation can apply to parenting plans, support issues, and division of property.


The mediation process is not easy.  It can be an emotional experience, and takes time to resolve the issues.  Both parties bring their past to the mediation table, and often find it difficult to focus on the future.  The role of the mediator is to assist in the resolution process.


A large percentage of mediations result in settlement.  Even where settlement is not reached, the parties gain knowledge of where they are unable to agree, and what their options are.


A roster of family mediators can be found at Mediate B.C.’s website (  Mediate B.C. maintains a roster of skilled mediators who have met their requirements of training and experience, and ongoing professional development each year.  Mediate B.C.  enforces a code of ethics that their mediators must abide by. 


Lawyers who have practiced for a specified number of years, and have completed a designated number of courses, are qualified by the Law Society to do mediations.  If an individual or corporation holds themselves out as mediators, make sure they are qualified.


If you have outstanding parenting or support issues only, and you are of limited means, the Family Justice Center offers mediation free of charge.  You can contact them at 250 712 3636.


Mediation is a safe, needs-centred approach to resolving conflict.


Two Heads (Mediators) are Better than One Share on FacebookTweetEmail story
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Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

The practice of mediation can be a lonely one.  We work with parties and their counsel, but our relationship is only for the resolution of the immediate issues.  We seldom receive feed-back from the parties or their counsel about our performance.  For most of us, the last time we were observed practicing our craft by an outside observer, was when we participated in role plays at courses we completed from time to time, or when we originally qualified for our mediation training requirements.


Family Mediation Programs Share on FacebookTweetEmail story
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Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

If you are financially eligible for Legal Aid, and wish to employ a mediator rather than go to court, this program may be for you. 


Conflict Resolution Week – October 11th to 18th Share on FacebookTweetEmail story
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Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Thanksgiving weekend is a time for togetherness, a celebration of family and friends. At least, that’s what we all hope it will be. But, for many people, it is a time of tension. A time when they are reminded of conflicts or problems in their lives at home or in the workplace. Often, these problems end up in a courtroom - and the resolution is costly, time-consuming and stressful.


Resolving your Family Law Dispute: family assets – Dividing the Pie Share on FacebookTweetEmail story
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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

At first glance, family law regarding the division of family assets seems straightforward. Family assets are all those assets owned by both parties at the time of separation.  The family home, automobiles, furniture, boats, snow machines, motorcycles, bank accounts, RRSP’s, investments… the list is broad and inclusive. Pension credits and pensions are family assets.  The shares in a family business and business interests are considered family assets.


Resolving your family law dispute: Who pays spousal support and how much is paid? Share on FacebookTweetEmail story
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Monday, July 21st, 2014

The payment of spousal support is often a source of conflict at the time of separation.  Despite this, consideration of spousal support offers some useful opportunities to negotiate solutions that will benefit both you and your former spouse. In my opinion, it should always be considered together with child support and division of property.


A Case for Mediation Share on FacebookTweetEmail story
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Thursday, May 8th, 2014

A Case For Mediation - The Cost-Effectiveness of Civil, Family, and Workplace Mediation report from Mediate BC


Mediation and the New Family Law Act - Dramatic Changes to Family Law Share on FacebookTweetEmail story
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Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

On March 18 2013, the new Family Law Act came into force.  The Act dramatically changes many aspects of family law in B.C


The joy of mediating in my P.J.'s: Telephone-based mediation Share on FacebookTweetEmail story
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Monday, January 13th, 2014
Mediators tend to be touchy-feely people. We spend a lot of time worrying about the emotional climate in the room, power balancing, and, "Do the parties feel like they have been heard? I mean, really heard?"

Let's get together (by videoconference, of course) - Distance Mediation Solutions Share on FacebookTweetEmail story
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Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
Now for the mediation: It would take place on the videoconferencing platform, with all parties being present.