How Does It Work
Mediation is problem solving process in which separating spouses work with a neutral third party, the mediator, who assists them in finding solutions to their Family Law issues. The mediator does not provide participants with legal advice and does not make a decision about issues over which the participants disagree. Instead, he or she uses tools which help the participants to overcome areas of disagreement and arrive at a settlement.
Why it is A Good Choice
Mediation is generally cost effective and is usually very much more civil and respectful than a traditional, Court-based approach to resolving Family Law issues. Participants in Mediation are generally much more satisfied with their outcomes than participants in the traditional, Court based method of resolution. This is because participants in Mediation:
- have greater control over their outcomes; and
- would rather direct their outcomes than have a third party stranger, who has had little involvement with their case or their lives, make a decision on their behalf.
Because a mediator cannot provide legal advice, it is necessary to obtain advice from a family lawyer about your rights and obligations before you commence Mediation sessions. This way you will have an understanding of the reasonable parameters for settling your issues, before you embark up negotiations, and you can negotiate with confidence.
Participation & Results
Separating spouses can participate in Mediation on their own or with the assistance of their family lawyers. Unless there is a specific concern about independent participation, our family lawyers recommend that spouses seek to participate in Mediation sessions on their own, before involving family lawyers in their sessions. However, our family lawyers can provide our clients with ongoing advice and guidance while they are participating in the Mediation process.
If you experience challenges with Mediation, we can help you to readily convert to a different method for settling your Family Law issues.
If you arrive at a possible agreement with your spouse, your mediator will assist you in summarizing the terms of your proposed agreement in writing. This summary is generally called a “Mediation Report.” It is not an enforceable contact. In order to finalize your proposed agreement, this summary must be converted in to a contract, generally referred to as a “domestic contract” or “Separation Agreement.” Our family lawyers can advise you of the merits of your proposed agreement. We can then assist you in preparing a domestic contract, which captures your agreement, in terms that are easy to understand but are also secure and enforceable.
For more information please see The Mediation Centre.