What is Family Mediation?
Mediation allows outcome-focused yet conflicted spouses to settle all outstanding issues, with the assistance of a neutral third-party dispute resolution professional. Mediation successfully deals with parenting (guardianship and child support), division of assets and spousal support. Mediation allows both parties a safe space to discuss their concerns and ‘be heard’. The mediator enables spouses to communicate effectively which reduces stress and sets the foundation for respectful dialogue in the future. Alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation, are a great alternative to court-imposed orders.
Who are Family Mediators?
Mediators are trained to be impartial facilitators who also know the laws that govern divorce in BC and Canada. Your mediator will limit the unproductive chatter which often leads to emotionally fueled litigation, and helps spouses focus the conversation on important matters, such as the children’s best interests, dividing family assets and spousal support. Working with a mediator who has practiced as a family lawyer is always beneficial since they understand what settlement outcome may be court-enforced.
Pre-Mediation is the first step in determining if Mediation is right for you and offered at no cost. Mediation is not for everyone; it takes spouses who are really committed to a win-win outcome and a dignified divorce process to engage in this alternative dispute resolution process.
In a one-on-one conversation, the Family Mediator will ask you to provide an overview of the unresolved issues. The Mediator will explain what you can expect from the mediation sessions, how long it could take to settle, the process for finalizing the agreement and divorce, and the costs.
Mediation or Litigation
An experienced Family Mediator can make divorce less expensive and less stressful for you, and your children. Through mediation, the spouses maintain equal control and have input every step of the way as they discuss parenting, support, and family finances. Working amicably towards a settlement that is fair and equitable means that the process takes less time, and both spouses are eager to adhere to terms of the agreement.
Unfortunately, if your relationship has become highly adversarial and you have lost the ability to communicate with your partner, mediation is not right for you. If you feel ‘ambushed’ by the end of the relationship and are resentful towards your partner, mediation is not right for you. Still, many family lawyers use negotiation tools and keep your case ‘out of court’. Some family lawyers will attend mediation or arbitration with their clients as an effective way to settle issues without going to trial.