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Jun 2020

Family Mediation

By Jennifer Black

Family Mediation is a process that assists former spouses with resolving their differences in a respectful, timely, and cost-effective manner.

Mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral third party assists former spouses with the negotiation of a mutually acceptable agreement.  Mediation provides a safe and structured environment to resolve family issues that may include parenting plans, child support, spousal support, and division of property. The former spouses have control over outcomes. They together make decisions in the mediation process.  Parties can attend mediation on their own, or with lawyers present. If parties attend mediation on their own then they may choose to consult a lawyer throughout the mediation process.  Parties will need to obtain independent legal advice on any settlement reached in mediation.    

There are many benefits of mediation versus the court process.  Firstly, mediation is likely to be a much more cost-effective process as each party shares in the cost of the mediator.  Often parties will attend mediation on their own, consult with lawyers during the mediation process and/or have their lawyer review any agreement reached in mediation.  Secondly, it is likely to be a more efficient process than litigation because the parties involved do not need to rely on the court’s schedule. Generally, mediation sessions are scheduled right away without much delay.  Thirdly, Mediation is a client centred and family focussed process.  Parties choose what issues are discussed in mediation.  Discussions can include big or small issues and are not limited to matters that are only relevant at law.  Fourthly, Mediation is a creative process.  While resolutions in mediation do consider the legal model, you are not restricted by a statute driven process which enables the parties to develop creative solutions that work for their family.  Finally, if mediation is “closed”, then it is a confidential process.  This means parties are able to have full, frank discussions on issues without worrying about it being used against them if the matter were to proceed to court. 

At SorbaraLaw, the mediation process begins with initial individual intake meetings which are scheduled between each party and the mediator.  The purpose of these individual meetings is for the mediator to assess whether your matter is appropriate for mediation, identify issues to be discussed, and to assist each party with understanding the mediation process.  Once it is determined that mediation is an appropriate process for you and your family then the first joint mediation session is scheduled.

If you are interested in learning more about mediation please contact Jennifer Black at 519-741-8010 extension 305 or