Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where former spouses meet with a trained mediator to try and resolve the issues between them by agreement, outside of court.
A Family Law Mediator is a family lawyer, specially trained in mediation, who facilitates that process to assist you in identifying your needs and concerns, and to help you come up with your own solutions to resolve the conflicts resulting from your separation, or in relation to co-parenting of your children. Mediation would involve you, your former spouse and the mediator, and can include your lawyers as well. Mediation may also include other professionals who might assist you in resolving the issues between you, including child specialists, pension and business valuators, and financial experts. It can take place alongside a court proceeding, to try and void going to trial, or it could be a stand-alone process for those who have never been involved in the court process.
The benefits of mediation are several, when contrasted with the court system:
- Lower costs;
- Faster resolution
- More durable, long-lasting agreements;
- Ability to tailor solutions for your specific situation;
- You make decisions, rather than a judge.
Mediation usually involves the completion of intake forms and a pre-mediation meeting with each person to determine some background information, the issues that are important to you, and what you might hope to achieve through mediation. It can help to identify what information we might need to have at mediation in order to make informed agreements. Both parties are encouraged to obtain independent legal advice before mediation to help you prepare and learn a little about your rights and obligations. Mediations are currently held via Zoom, which allows parties to participate remotely. If an agreement is reached, a written agreement can be drafted by either one of your lawyers, or by the mediator. Usually, the costs of mediation are shared equally between you and your spouse.
Are you wondering what to bring to your first appointment? Or maybe what do expect from a mediation appointment? Perhaps, you want to know what you should consider before making a will or doing estate planning.