ABOUT FAMILY MEDIATION
PLEASE NOTE: The information provided on this website is for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice in any way whatsoever. It is always recommended that you seek legal advice from your own lawyer.
What is Family Dispute Resolution?
Family Dispute Resolution (or Mediation) is a process for parents to resolve their disputes with the assistance of an independent third party (the Mediator), who facilitates the discussions but does not make any decisions or determinations.
Is Family Mediation Confidential?
Mediation is a confidential process; hence, anything that is discussed during the mediation session is not repeated outside of the session. Although a mediator is bound not to reveal what the parties have said in mediation, exceptions exist, including:
- Where an existing law requires the mediator to report certain information, such as child abuse
- Where the mediator believes it is necessary to reveal information so as to prevent serious bodily injury or death
What are the Advantages of Family Mediation?
- It is quicker than going to court
- It is much more cost-effective than going to court (by avoiding ongoing legal costs, filing fees, court fees, witness expenses and lawyers' fees)
- It is confidential (but for the exceptions)
- It allows parents to develop and maintain a working co-parenting relationship
- It empowers parents to make the decisions relating to their children and property
- It is informal (without the formal protocol and procedures of the courts)
Is Family Mediation Appropriate in All Circumstances?
Mediation is not appropriate in all circumstances, and it is for the mediator to assess appropriateness, by conducting confidential intakes with the parties separately.
THE FAMILY MEDIATION PROCESS
The mediation process is in three steps:
Step 1: Initiating Party's Intake
- The parent outlines any relevant background information, including specific concerns and issues to be resolved
- François makes the relevant assessments and provides more information about the mediation process
- Information is not repeated to the other parent
Step 2: Responding Party's Intake
- For the same purposes as in Step 1
Step 3: Mediation
- Both parents attend the mediation session with François
- François outlines the the tenets of mediation and guidelines for participation in th eprocess
- Each parent, in turn, describes the issues to be resolved from their particular point of view
- François creates an agenda (a list of the issues of both parents)
- Each issue is discussed in turn, with each parent stating their underlying concerns
- From such concerns, options are generated by both parents (assisted by François)
- The parents negotiate about these options
- When settlement of the issues is achieved, François prepares the written agreement and presents it to each parent
PREPARING FOR FAMILY MEDIATION
- Identify the relevant issues to be discussed and resolved at mediation
- Consider the other parent's underlying concerns in relation to each issue
- Seek independent legal advice of the likely outcome of going to court for each issue
- Consider numerous options for each issue
- Seek independent expert advice for any particular issues, such as guidelines of appropriate care arrangements for children according to their ages and developmental stages
- Identify all assets and liabilities relevant to the property settlement
- Ascertain precise values for all such assets and liabilities
- Collect all supporting documents
- Seek independent legal advice of the likely outcome of going to court