Karen Stewart is founder and CEO of Fairway Divorce Solutions.
Calgary’s Business: Can you explain the background of Fairway Divorce Solutions? When was it established and why? And what it does?
Stewart: Fairway Divorce Solutions is Canada’s leading divorce resolution and mediation company. I founded this company in 2006 after going through the divorce process myself. After years of dispute, thousands of dollars wasted and my family severely impacted, I wanted there to be a better way of divorce for Canadian families to transition through that protects their money and relationships instead of destroying them. At Fairway, we use a proprietary step-by-step process using divorce mediators and negotiators to empower our clients to be well-informed decision makers, thus ensuring that they keep their wealth, careers and relationships intact.
CB: How does Fairway Divorce Solutions differentiate itself from other similar services?
Stewart: Fairway is different because we deliver high-value, fee-structured dispute solutions that are created to help preserve our client’s wealth, protect their children and relationships. We are the only national mediation company in Canada with offices expanding from British Columbia to Ontario. We are a one-stop shop that takes clients from beginning the divorce process to the end – filing for divorce. We have an in-house matrimonial lawyer, and quarterback and other professionals such as business valuators and tax specialists, who all work together to achieve an outcome that is fair. We want our clients to feel confident that they could not have done better if they went to court.
CB: How does the economy impact the divorce rate in Calgary?
Stewart: While divorce is reasonably steady statistically from province to province and from month to month and year to year, economic up- and downturns do impact it. Rates tend to increase at both ends of the spectrum when the economy is booming or depressed. When things are good, people tend to feel that they can afford to live apart and when things are a bust in the economy, people are stressed about money. Both extremes increase the number of people turning to a divorce.
CB: How does Calgary rate to other major centres in Canada for its divorce rate?
Stewart: Overall, one in every three marriages ends in divorce. Calgary divorce rates are quite similar to that of other bustling city centres like Vancouver and Toronto. Divorce rates are higher in urban centres.
CB: Each year we see stories about how the Calgary Stampede leads to more cases of divorce. Is this an urban myth or reality?
Stewart: There are Fairway offices across Canada, and therefore we are able to view data year after year to see where there are spikes in clients. Since 2006, we have seen a constant increase in clients in July and August in the Calgary area, which correlates with the Calgary Stampede season. The reality of the Calgary Stampede is it cultivates an environment of letting loose, stepping away from normal life and having fun. If a relationship is already on the brink of breaking, some individuals may find the temptations of this environment too hard to resist when they are lacking a feeling of love, desire and a connection in their own relationship. For others who have a solid relationship, the Stampede can bring them closer together. However, there are always influxes of clients directly right after any event or holiday because it puts the clients in a different environment than their day-to-day routine. This step away can foster the need to take action and make a change in life and/or their marriage.
– Mario Toneguzzi
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