What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral third party helps parties to negotiate an agreement to their dispute. Mediation is an alternative way to resolve disputes outside of the court process.
How Does Mediation Work?
The mediation process starts with each party participating in an intake assessment where the mediator will collect information about you and identify the issues you wish to mediate. After each party has completed the intake assessment the mediator will confirm with you whether your matter is appropriate for mediation and schedule a joint mediation session. Before your first mediation session you will be given a Mediation Agreement to review. After each mediation session the mediator will provide you with a confidential progress report.
You can and should receive independent legal advice before, during and after mediation. If you reach an agreement then the mediator will prepare a draft Separation Agreement or Mediation Report for you to review and seek legal advice.
What is the Role of a Mediator?
A mediator acts as a neutral facilitator between you and your spouse/partner to allow you to discuss your needs and interests. A mediator will help you identify what is important to you and guide your discussions with one another to help you come to an agreement. A mediator will not give you advice or tell you what you should do.
What are the advantages of mediation?
- Less expensive than going to court
- Less stressful than going to court, either with a lawyer or on your own
- Usually faster than the court system at resolving disputes
- Gives your family the ability to customize an outcome that works for you
- Allows you to keep the focus on the needs of your children and your family as a whole
- Empowers you to make decisions that meet your needs and the needs of your family
- Helps to preserve relationships within your family rather than tearing them down
- People are usually more satisfied with the process and outcome of a mediated agreement as compared to a court-ordered arrangement
- Mediated agreements are more likely to be respected and honoured by the people making them
How long will mediation take?
The number of sessions required will depend on many factors including the number of issues, the complexity of your matter and the willingness of you and your spouse to negotiate in good faith. Mediation sessions are usually scheduled much faster than court appearances.
Will I need a lawyer?
You can and should receive independent legal advice before, during and after mediation. If you reach an agreement then the mediator will prepare a draft Separation Agreement or Mediation Report for you to review. You should seek legal advice with respect to any agreement reached at mediation before you sign any documents. If you already have a lawyer, your mediator can provide that lawyer with progress notes and a Mediation Report with respect to any agreement reached at mediation and your lawyer can review those documents with you.
If you are interested in participating in mediation both your and your spouse/partner should complete an Intake Form and return it by fax, email or in person. If you have any other questions about the mediation process in general please contact us.