My common-law partner and I split after a 17-year relationship. This was a difficult transition as we met in our early twenties and became adults together. In our journey, we bought a beautiful loft that we shared for over 10 years, became part of each other's extended families, had mutual friends, and had two high maintenance dogs we love very much (W & L). We didn't know what the future would hold, but being both respectful people we wanted the separation to go as smoothly as possible and not cause any further harm. We figured that mediation was the best choice for us as we did not want an adversarial process. After some research, we decided to engage Anne Freed to help facilitate our separation. Anne helped us identify our mutual goals and kept us focused on what needed to be done. Her friendly, fun and matter-of-fact personality helped us deal with these complex issues. Her vast knowledge of family law enabled us to feel better educated. As the high-income earner, this knowledge helped me truly understand what the law means for me. She was careful to remain neutral and to not give advice, but would present us with facts we should consider in our decision making. We had plenty of homework to complete on our own, which then kept some of the mediation costs down. At the end of the day, we had a draft separation agreement we could each take for independent legal advice to arrive at a final agreement, and have now started our new lives. That's not to say this journey was easy; it was still a very difficult process that took a lot of time and effort. That said, we kept our goals in mind and got to the finish line as friends. Overall, I felt like we worked through the process as a team of three: Me, My Ex, and Anne.
MS, June 2017