What is it?
Mediation is a confidential, private process in which an impartial person, a mediator, facilitates communication between both parties and attempts to promote mutually agreeable settlement of the issues. Mediation is an informal, voluntary and confidential process that promotes open and respectful communication. The Mediator is an neutral third party who does not represent either party. The parties to this agreement have the primary responsibility of resolving their dispute. The Mediator’s role is to help the parties negotiate a voluntary settlement of the issues in dispute.
Family Mediation is where two former partners meet with a mediator and attempt to resolve the issues stemming from their separation. They will typically do so through a series of meetings where they express their views on the dispute, examine their interests and concerns, explore a variety of creative options, and develop their own solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Who is it for?
Mediation is for anyone who wants to resolve their family law matters without resorting to court litigation. There is a misconception that mediation is only for people who get along and are capable of agreement. In actuality, mediation is suited to anyone who is willing to persevere through the difficult task of discussing and negotiating issues related to the separation. Mediation is for anyone who wishes to retain control over the final outcome of their matter. In litigation, the power and control belong to the judge. In mediation, the power and control remain with the parties themselves.
How does the process work?
With mediation, the parties will first meet individually with the mediator to provide their views and to describe the issues. After the mediator has met with both parties, they will sign a Participation Agreement if they wish to engage in the mediation process.
Once the Participation Agreement has been signed, the parties will provide disclosure pertaining to their incomes, assets and debts. Thereafter, they will engage in a series of mediation sessions until the issues in dispute are resolved. All discussions during mediation are confidential, and cannot later be used by either party if mediation is ultimately unsuccessful.