Family mediation is a way of resolving disputes which arise before, during or after separation or divorce. The process helps divorcing and separating couples come to an agreement for the arrangements of their children and finances in a constructive and structured way.
It is a voluntary and confidential process which gives the parties a chance to explain their issues, hopes, concerns and needs to each other in the presence of a qualified family mediator.
Family mediation provides a safe environment, helping to reduce hostility and improve the chances of long term positive communication.
The mediator will help you to explore options. The mediator will assist you in checking how practical your proposals really are, guiding you to reach acceptable and workable solutions. However, the outcome you reach is entirely under your control.
In some mediation cases the mediator may also consult directly with the children.
The family mediation process involves the couple working together with the mediator.
There are three stages:
Assessment Meeting – this meeting (sometimes called the intake meeting) is to explain the process of mediation and to give you an opportunity to ask questions as we want you to be comfortable with mediation. It is also important to assess if the issues are suitable for mediation.
Mediation Sessions – Mediation Sessions – during these joint or separate sessions you will discuss and negotiate the rules on how you and your ex- spouse will continue to live seperate and apart. The subject matters for mediation can include any combination of the following; Parenting, Custody and Access, Child Support, Spousal Support, the Division and Equalization of Family property, and the assignment of Family debt(s).
End of Mediation – at the end of the mediation process you will be given a Final Mediators Report setting out what the Mediator believes you and your x-spouse are able to agree to at that point in time, including the reasoning behind your financial agreements. You should then take the Report to a lawyer (for Independent Legal Advice) prior to making the decision to proceed in any court process. You and your lawyer will always have the option to return to mediation at any time in the future.