Family Matters is a half-hour TV series seen by Family Lawyers, Mediators, Family Court Judges and the public in British Columbia and Ontario. The show features interviews conducted by well-known author and sitting Family Court Judge Harvey Brownstone. Justice Brownstone is the author of Tug of War, a popular book found in the offices of Family Lawyers and Mediators all over the country. Paul Jenkinson, Project Communications Coordinator, was surprised when he was approached by Family Matters producer Nancy Kinney asking someone from the Smartsettle Centre for Family Resolutions to appear at the Alternatives to Court episode of the show.
James Loewen, Director of the Smartsettle Centre for Family Resolutions agreed to appear and during the show explained how the centre uses the Smartsettle eNegotiation System to help resolve family conflicts. James was given opportunity to:
- outline the Smartsettle negotiation process,
- explain the value provided by a mediator/facilitator who employs the Smartsettle system,
- explain how 10-20% hidden value can be uncovered for each party by optimizing a Baseline Agreement, and
- place lawyers and mediators as future users of Smartsettle.
Judge Brownstone quickly saw the value in eliminating emotion from the process, emotion that he has seen destroy families in the courtroom. James did a masterful job explaining how the eNegotiation process allows people to think deeply about what they need in their family agreement, put that information into the eNegotiation system and create agreements that are honest, mutually beneficial and stable for the family. In this way Smartsettle harnesses the emotions of both parties, clarifies their needs, and produces a comprehensive, highly satisfying agreement without the damage associated with litigation and the court process. Justice Brownstone indicated his amazement at what Smartsettle could do and said he had never heard of such a technology before.
The Family Matters episode “Alternatives to Court” will be broadcast on CHEK TV and in Ontario in the later part of May or June 2013. This episode and all the 2013 episodes will be posted on the Family Matters website as well.