Navigating Towards Resolution

Family Mediation Services

We will help you navigate the divorce process so that you can feel less overwhelmed, more confident, and able to make the best choices for you and your evolving family.

By focusing on the child(ren) throughout the process, we can minimize the effects and be proactive in tackling future issues. You will have a supportive, unbiased, and non-judgemental mediation that empowers you both to work towards a resolution. 

Your children are the center of your universe.

Mediation provides the opportunity to work collaboratively and empowers you to work towards a resolution. We will identify what is important to you and explore creative options.

Parenting Mediation and Collaborative Divorce

Views and Preferences of the Child (Voice of the Child Reports)

Parenting Coordination

Case Consultation & Separation Planning


Family Mediation, Child-Centered Services and Case Consultation.

We work alongside both parents to prioritize your changing family’s needs and help you to problem-solve together. 

Parenting Mediation and Collaborative Divorce

Parenting Mediation is a process whereby parents work collaboratively with a neutral professional in order to consider and resolve the child-related legal issues, and details of co-parenting within a post-separation reality. The process enables parents to address differences between themselves that might impact adversely on their children’s health, happiness and stability if left unresolved. The mediation process encourages better communication skills and provides an opportunity for parents to work cooperatively with one another. In contrast to litigation, the parents work independently, or together with their mediator who will promote conflict resolution with attention to addressing their respective concerns and focusing on the best interests of their children. Most parents are able to use mediation effectively and as such avoid the cost and stress often associated with litigation.

Collaborative Divorce is a dispute resolution process for separating and divorcing couples. Family lawyers, financial professionals and neutral family professionals will work collaboratively to support you and your family to achieve resolution on the range of legal issues arising from the separation, including the creation of a parenting plan. The collaborative process allows individuals to be more self-directed, while working within a process of full disclosure and mutual respect. Collaborative professionals have specific training on establishing settlements out of court.

Clients may choose to sign a Participation Agreement, engage in settlement meetings and talks, while working in good faith. For more information please go to

Views and Preferences of the Child (Voice of the Child Reports)

When parents separate or divorce, significant decisions are typically made impacting the day-to-day lives of the children involved. The views and preferences process provides a way for children to have a voice in family law proceedings that may affect them.

There is growing recognition in the social science research literature on the value of children having age-appropriate input, and for their parents to consider this input in their post-separation planning. Older children may benefit from sharing what is important to them in their lives, which may include expressing their ideas about special activities or living arrangements. Parents are also more likely to settle their disputes if they understand how their children see their situation and understand what is important to them. In the context of a views and preferences process, a child is assured of his or her role as a child and not as a decision maker, and as such care is given to alleviate pressure to choose between parents.

Upon request, a detailed report will be prepared and issued to parents and counsel. This report shall detail the themes discussed with the child, and his or her perspectives on a range of issues identified during the meetings.

Parenting Coordination

Parenting coordination is a post parenting plan, dispute resolution service for separated parents experiencing high conflict. Parent Coordination services may be provided by a mental health professional or a lawyer with training, expertise and experience in the areas of separation/divorce, high conflict families, child development, parenting plans, family systems, family violence or power imbalances and the relevant legislation.

Many details of parenting children as separated parents are summarized in a final Court order, Minutes of Settlement, or final separation agreement however there are often small day-to-day matters that can present a significant amount of conflict between the co-parents. Research has shown that it is this type of inter-parental conflict that has the most harmful effects on children’s emotional and psychological well-being. To manage this conflict, a parenting coordinator (PC) assists co-parents to implement, maintain and comply with their Parenting Plan as set out by their Court Order or Minutes of Settlement. Parenting Coordination may include elements of education and coaching, problem solving (mediation), and at times, decision-making (arbitration). A PC will aim to assist parents to minimize coparental conflict by promoting more effective communication and problem-solving skills and encouraging respectful interaction, factors that will support the adjustment of their children to the separation.

In cases where there is a dispute and parents are unable to come to a mutual agreement during the problem-solving phase of the intervention, the PC has the authority to make a final and binding decision in keeping with the children’s best interests as per the Arbitration Act and the Family Statute Law Amendment Act.

Case Consultation and Separation Planning

Plan for and execute a separation. The primary goal of these sessions is to create a roadmap of how to navigate the divorce process. We will help you in creating a plan for you (individually or as a couple) on everything you will need to do. From telling the children to preparing for meeting with your lawyers, we will support you along the way.

As a mental health professional and family mediator, I will help you to identify your priorities as a newly separated individual as well as point you in the right direction towards services and professionals as needed.

True North Mediation Divorce Parenting Ottawa

Melissa Lafreniere MA, RP, QFAS

Psychotherapist, Parent Mediator, Collaborative Divorce Family Professional, Divorcee, Mom

I specialize in child-centred separation/divorce services with the goal of keeping your children’s needs at the forefront of every conversation.  
As a child and family therapist with over two decades of experience, I know how important the parent/child attachment is to the healthy development of a child. Deciding to end a relationship when children are involved is rarely done without worrying about how it will impact the child(ren).  This can often leave parents feeling lost about how to separate in a way that shlelds the child(ren) from emotional harm. WIth this in mind, I strive to keep your children’s developmental and emotional needs at the center of your separation so you feel reassured that you are moving forward with best practices in mind. As a parenting mediator and collaborative divorce family professional, I use all of my clinical skills and experience to help you navigate, plan for and execute a separation that will help you move forward in a child-focused way. 

With True North, you will have a supportive, unbiased, and non-judgmental advocate by your side.

“Melissa was so wonderful. She was able to relate to us in an authentic and genuine way. I felt that she kept us focused on our kids the entire time.”

“From our first phone call, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I could tell I was in the right place. I felt listened to and heard.”

“Melissa met with our children and was able to shed some light on how they were feeling about our separation. It was invaluable to our decision making process.”

“Melissa has a unique way of establishing genuine relationships with her clients without compromising her neutrality. She is a pleasure to work with!”

True North Clients

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Curious to know more? Please book a free virtual consultation to learn more and to determine if working with me is right for you.


(613) 795-8720


Greater Ottawa Area

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