Mediation : Family Law and Employment

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process: Two or more parties meet with a trained mediator to engage in negotiation with the goal of reaching an Agreement on how to resolve issues in dispute between them. The objective is to arrive at your own Agreement, outside of court, which generates a detailed settlement built on balanced resolution.

couple sitting on couch looking at each other in front of mediator with clipboard

What is the Role of the Mediator?

The mediator’s role is to facilitate reasoned discussions between the parties in an effort to assist the parties to work out a settlement between themselves. The mediator applies his or her skills and expertise to

  • guide the discussion
  • help the parties express their opinions and positions in a safe and
    constructive manner, and
  • assist the parties to generate their own options for resolution.

In short, a mediator brings parties together who are in conflict, facilitating an opportunity to share, assess, and respond to each other’s positions so that they can reach an equitable outcome between themselves without requiring a judge or arbitrator.

What are the Benefits of Mediation?

Mediation typically offers the following benefits to parties:

  • It tends to be more cost-effective than litigation.
  • The process of mediation brings parties together to reach their own solutions, and their solutions tend to be much more capably customized towards the best outcome for them and their children.
  • Mediation is confidential, as compared to court process which creates a public record of each party’s financial particulars, and a summary of their perspective of the issues in conflict.
  • It is a safe process. The mediator exercises insight based on a combination of experience and individual pre-mediation interviews with each party, to help facilitate a constructive – as opposed to a destructive – exchange of ideas. As a general rule, neither party in mediation should expect to get 100% of what they want. An effective resolution is one built on reasoned compromise but is not based on either party simply giving up their positions. A settlement will arise in mediation only if the parties reach agreement. Neither party will be forced into an agreement.
  • Family law mediation often involves parenting issues. Studies repeatedly demonstrate that children in separated families will suffer emotional harm if their parents are engaged in conflict. Mediation helps parents share their views and differences, arriving at their own customized parenting plan. Parents who work out their own parenting plan between themselves – rather than having one directed by a judge who does not know their children – tend to trust and follow their Agreement. A cooperative parenting plan helps protect children from negative adult issues and can proactively move them forward in a healthy two-household environment.

In short, a mediator brings parties together who are in conflict, facilitating an opportunity to share, assess, and respond to each other’s positions so that they can reach an equitable outcome between themselves without requiring a judge or arbitrator.

What is the Role of Lawyers?

It is always a good idea to meet with a lawyer to obtain independent legal advice within the mediation process and/or to receive advice in respect to a Separation Agreement. In some situations, it can be beneficial for the parties to have their lawyers attend mediation sessions through a process known as Five-Way Mediation, which can provide an excellent environment for helping parties resolve more complicated legal issues outside of formal court process.

“Discourage litigation, persuade your neighbours to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often the real loser – in legal fees, and expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.” – Abraham Lincoln

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein