Mediation is one process used to help resolve outstanding matters during divorce and separation, such as the division of property. This process may also be used to address issues regarding child custody and access, child support, and spousal support.
A mediator is a ‘facilitator’. The parties sit down together with a mediator, who is specially trained to help people work out their own solutions to their problems. The rules in mediation are the same as in court: no yelling, no screaming, no sarcasm, no name-calling. Often couples who feel they cannot communicate in any circumstances are surprised to find that they can in fact deal with each other with the assistance of a mediator.
Granted, mediation is not for everyone. If there is a significant imbalance of power between the parties, then mediation might not be the right forum through which to attempt to resolve outstanding issues. This ‘imbalance’ might arise if there has been considerable abuse, either psychological/emotional or physical,during the course of the relationship. As well, mediation might not be appropriate if one or both parties have serious substance and/or alcohol problems, or mental health issues.
Advantages to Mediation
Mediation is significantly less expensive than going to court. Blake Family Law offer mediation services at reasonable rates for those who wish to deal with the issues that arise upon separation in a cooperative and civil manner and avoid the perils of litigation.
Court can be emotionally draining. It is so important to salvage a decent rapport if there are children involved. It becomes difficult if not impossible to salvage a decent, civil rapport after protracted, acrimonious legal proceedings.
More Power to the Parties
When people go to court, they rely on a third party (a judge) to make decisions for their family. A judge knows very little about the history of the relationship and the family dynamic. Nonetheless, people will rely on this individual to decide issues that can have an enormous impact on the family unit, including the children. The mediation process allows the parties to negotiate and, hopefully, come up with mutually acceptable compromises. In the mediation process, both concerned parties get to make their own decisions regarding their families–decisions with which they will most likely be more satisfied.
Mediation is an option that should at least be considered. Mediation can be quicker, less painful, and less expensive than litigation. Whatever transpires in mediation stays in mediation. One can walk away from the mediation process whenever one wishes, without fear of later reprisals. There is little to lose from trying mediation. There is, however, potentially a lot to gain.
As an accredited family mediator with the Ontario Association of Family Mediators, I can assist parties in reaching a time-effective and cost-effective resolution of the issues without recourse to expensive litigation.