Elise Lavigne

elise@mafamilylawyers.ca

If you are considering me as your family lawyer, you may want to know a bit about my background. I am both a mother and a grandmother. Before returning to law school as a second career in 1997, I worked for 20 years in the Resource industry throughout western and northern Canada doing community consultation work and socio-economic impact assessments of major resource development projects;; developing programs to address community concerns. This work required building relationships and trust with a range of stakeholders; addressing social, environmental and economic community concerns; and being an effective listener, communicator and problem solver.

Before returning to law school, I completed Masters’ course work in clinical psychology. I was called to the Bar in 2001 and have practised exclusively in the area of family law since 2003. I am also a trained Mediator, Arbitrator, Parenting Coordinator and a registered collaborative professional. During law school, I received extensive volunteer training in Domestic Violence and taught court ordered courses to assist individuals on probation for Domestic Conflict. I have continued to work as a volunteer lawyer with the Women’s Centre of Calgary since 2001, and I have been a Dispute Resolution Officer with the Court of Queen’s Bench since 2009.

Since becoming a family lawyer, I have continued my training in litigation, mediation, working with high conflict individuals, mediating high conflict files, and understanding the effects of conflict on children. I believe strongly that as family law lawyers, we need to be problem solvers and that in order to do this well, we need to work closely with our clients to understand their fears and concerns, to answer their questions, and to develop practical, cost effective solutions that work for our clients and their families. Our ability to do this well also requires that we foster and build effective, cooperative working relationships with other family law lawyers and mental health professionals.

Family breakdown creates emotional, financial and legal issues that all need to be addressed and resolved. In most cases, when emotional and financial issues are properly addressed, the settlement of legal issues is easier. These issues can best be resolved through effective negotiations between parties and their counsel, and where necessary, working with mental health and financial specialists who can provide specialized assistance.

While cooperative settlement negotiation is usually the best and most cost-effective way to resolve family breakdown issues, for some families this isn’t always possible. In that case, the use of court or private arbitration becomes a viable option. I am skilled at and committed to pursuing these options when they are needed.

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