Q: When should you consider mediation?
- If you are unable to resolve your differences and come to an agreement on your own.
- If you even think of going to court, try mediation first.
- If you cannot afford the extreme costs of litigation.
- If the conflict is between people with an ongoing relationship that is important to preserve and rebuild.
- If you like to speak for yourself, and to make your own decisions.
- If privacy and confidentiality are important to the parties.
If any one of the above applies to you, you owe it to yourself to try mediation.
Q: What Are The Benefits of Mediation?
- The cost of mediation is usually considerably lower than going to court
- You participate directly in the resolution of your dispute and have control over the outcome rather than a deal made on your behalf between lawyers or a decision imposed on you by a judge which you may not like.
- Mediation is usually much faster for resolving conflict than court and you can do it without a lawyer.
- Because mediation is not adversarial it means you will likely have a better future relationship with the other party.
- Mediation is private and confidential while court proceedings are public and a public record of the proceedings is kept.
- You can be more creative in crafting a resolution to your dispute. Agreements can be reached between the parties structured to their personal situation and needs outside of what would normally be suggested in a court of law.
- The mediation is conducted in a private, informal, safe and comfortable professional environment that is not intimidating like a court room. You can be yourself and retain your confidence while speaking about the issues that are important to you.
- You determine the length of time the process takes. The mediation does not end until the parties are ready to end it.
- You can terminate the process at any time.
A mediator tries to ensure that the participants reach agreement freely, voluntarily, without undue influence, and on the basis of informed consent.
Q: What is the Mediation Process?
- The parties prepare for mediation in much the same way as they would prepare for negotiations. The parties bring position statements, valuation reports, financial documents or other assessments with them into the mediation to use as a reference and to confirm values.
- Rules of behaviour and etiquette are explained by the mediator at the commencement of the mediation to ensure that a respectful and constructive mediation occurs.
- A mediation session typically lasts two to four hours with breaks throughout the session.
- During the mediation each side has an opportunity to present their point of view and tell their side to the other party. The mediator does not take sides and has no decision-making authority.
- Each party is asked to really listen to the other party and understand what the other person is trying to say, even if they do not agree with what is being said.
- Once each party has been heard, they are asked to think of solutions and try to come up with a mutually agreeable resolution. The mediator can be helpful by providing suggestions to the parties of ways they may consider to solve their dispute.
- The mediation may be completed in just one meeting or it may require several meetings in order for the parties to resolve all of their issues. The time line entirely dependents upon how long it takes for the parties to reach agreement. If good progress is being made, the parties generally want to continue with additional meetings until they reach agreement with all issues.
- An interim agreement will be prepared by the mediator at the end of each mediation session summarizing what was accomplished during the mediation session. The interim agreement will be reviewed at the beginning of the next session for any changes, errors or omissions. It also reminds the parties of the progress that has been made so the mediation can move to the next step.
- There may be homework to be done by the parties. The parties may be asked to gather financial information and other documents between mediation sessions. It may also be necessary for the parties to consult with an accountant, actuary or lawyer for advice.
- Following the completion of the mediation, a separation agreement and/or divorce documents will be drawn up based on the agreement reached during the mediation to complete the divorce process.
A mediator has no enforcement powers and does not participate in overseeing the performance of any agreement.