Find Mediators Near You:

How To Resolve Parenting Disputes

From Arnold W. Zeman’s blog

We recently featured a video clip of an interview with Justice Harvey Brownstone of the North Toronto Family Court in which he brought to life the principle of acting in the best interests of the child.  Here now are his 10 tips for success in resolving parenting disputes from his book, Tug of War: A Judge’s Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles and the Bitter Realities of Family Court:

  1. Be child-focused
  2. Learn to distinguish between a bad partner and a bad parent
  3. Never speak negatively to the child about the other parent
  4. Never argue or fight in front of children
  5. Listen to the other parent’s point of view even if you don’t agree with it
  6. Consider mediation before giving the decision-making power to a judge (emphasis added)
  7. Separate your financial issues from your parenting issues
  8. Be flexible and reasonable in making access arrangements
  9. Your children still see you as a family, so communicate!
  10. Don’t hesitate to get help (emphasis added)

This list of advice is taken from Chapter 13 of Justice Brownstone’s book.  You can read Justice Brownstone’s commentary on each of these tips by clicking here for a book excerpt.


Arnold W. Zeman

After over 33 years in the public service of Canada, the last 20 of which as an executive, I retired from government in 2006 to pursue my passion to help people resolve their differences non-adversarially. I have been trained by the best in the field in both the public and… MORE >

Featured Mediators

View all

Read these next


Fate Is For Juries

I have been struggling with a few Mediator Proposals lately. At the point at which the parties invite me to propose the solution, typically the negotiations have threatened to break...

By Jan Frankel Schau

Freedom and Peace of Mind After Conflict

I’m disillusioned with terms like “conflict management” and “conflict resolution,” though I continue to use them. I use them because I haven’t yet found an optimal replacement. When I’m in...

By Tammy Lenski

Other Dispute Resolution Processes

There is a spectrum of dispute resolution processes, ranging from informal discussion to formal adjudication. The concept behind the development of alternative dispute resolution, or "ADR," is that the traditional...

By Managing Editor