That may seem like an impossible outcome. But it’s not. And this past week, I was reminded of this goal when I was presented with a Business of the Year award by the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. Every year the Chamber recognizes businesses that have made a difference though innovation and contributions to our community through the service they provide. The ‘Business Excellence Awards’ ceremony brings together over 900 business leaders in our community to celebrate excellence in business.
When I went up to receive the award, I told my story of how after seeing the negative impact of bad divorces on my students, I knew we had to change the way divorce happens. And so I left teaching and got my training to start Fairway Divorce Solutions in Waterloo Region.
I also thanked everyone in the room who cared enough about their families, co-workers, employees, friends and clients to tell them they now have choice in how to move through separation. In most cases, it doesn’t have to be a litigious court battle. There is an alternative way to divorce that doesn’t have to destroy relationships or deplete assets.
After the awards ceremony, a woman approached me to congratulate me on receiving the award. She said that the work that I do is so important and that she was so happy to hear there were people out there helping families. Then she said: “I am 44 years old and a child of divorce.

I have spent the last 30 years being a referee for my parents. My children will never know what a normal grandparent relationship is. We have had to have separate celebrations for everything. I wish my parents had gone through mediation. Keep doing what you are doing.”
I was speechless and yet I found myself thinking about how many times I have coached couples to consider the impact that fighting (win/lose) will have on the long-term relationship with one another, with their children and one day, even with their grandchildren. And I want to thank this complete stranger for reminding me of why I continue to do this work. It’s about getting to a win/win outcome with dignity and hope for the future.
Separation and divorce is hard. It comes with such a range of mixed emotions. If you are at the beginning of a separation and you find yourself being pulled into the traditional system of court battles, ask yourself: Is the fight really worth it? Can you put a price on a fragmented family? Do you really want your adult children and your grandchildren to never be able to have a joint celebration when those family milestone moments happen?
Remember it takes two people to drag on a battle. Make a choice to stop. Your children and grandchildren will thank you for it.

Colette Fortin is owner and mediator of Fairway Divorce Solutions, Waterloo-Wellington. She helps couples navigate the separation/divorce process while building better relationships and a better future. She has been featured on 570’s Ask the Expert, the Eric Drozd Show and The Grand Magazine.