Inventory of Government-Based Family Justice Services

First Choice dispute resolution project (Manitoba)

Province/Territory
Manitoba

Type of service
Family Court Services

Services offered
First Choice is offered for families experiencing separation and divorce. Combining assessment, mediation, and counselling, First Choice tries to help families move through the court system as quickly as possible. The purpose of First Choice is to help families reach agreement on family and parenting issues without going through a time-consuming court-ordered assessment. While most cases involve parents, the service can also be used by others with child-related issues such as grandparents and other family members seeking access to a child.

First Choice has been developed to help parents understand the likely outcome of a traditional court-ordered assessment. The Family Court can refer parents and other family members, (hereinafter called “parent”) who are having trouble reaching agreement on custody, access and private guardianship issues. First Choice can also provide follow-up assistance to the families it served, to address subsequent issues and concerns.

First Choice offers an alternative way to confidentially resolve custody and access issues outside of court system. The disputing parties are able to briefly consult with a two-member counselling team to determine the possibility of parental agreement that reflects the best interests of their children, as well as to give them an idea of what a possible outcome might be if they choose to go to court. Parents may negotiate parenting agreements based on the team’s recommendations and a short summary report is prepared by the team. The summary report is considered confidential and cannot be used if the case proceeds to court.

Pilot or ongoing service
Ongoing service

Department responsible
Family Conciliation, Manitoba Department of Families

How to access this service
Parents are referred by the court

Location(s)
Family Conciliation Services Winnipeg
2nd Floor, 379 Broadway
Winnipeg MB R3C 0T9
Telehone: 204-945-7236
Toll free: 1-800-282-8069 ext. 7236

Family Conciliation Services Brandon
340-9th Street
Brandon MB R7A 6C2
Telephone: 204-726-6336
Toll-free: 1-800-230-1885

[ Service(s) offered ]

Language(s)
English

Publications/information
For more information about this service, contact Family Conciliation in Winnipeg

Costs
No charge

Governing legislation/legislative authority
Part IX of The Court of Queen's Bench Act, C.C.S.M. c. C280
Part III of The Provincial Court Act, C.C.S.M. c. C275

Contact person(s)
Ron Bewski, Area Director and Operations Lead
Family Conciliation
2nd floor – 379 Broadway
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0T9
Telephone: 204-945-7236
Fax: 204-948-2142
Toll free: 1-800-282-8069 (Ext. 7236) in Manitoba

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