We understand that going through a separation can be an emotional, overwhelming, and mentally and physically demanding time. You could feel that your whole world is coming apart, particularly if your separation gets difficult and, sadly, results in litigious Court proceedings.
Thankfully, there is a process that can help – family law mediation.
In this article, we discuss what family law mediation is and how it can help you get through your separation.
What is Family Law Mediation?
Mediation is a method of dispute resolution that is used as an alternative to Court proceedings. Parties on both sides of the separation or divorce (you and your partner) meet with a mediator to resolve legal issues without going to Court.
The mediation can cover any issues you both agree upon, including child parenting, child and spousal support, and division of property and debts.
The process is conducted in a confidential, timely and cost-efficient manner with the support of a neutral and impartial third party, the mediator. The mediator cannot take sides or provide you or your partner/spouse with any legal advice; the mediator is strictly there to guide you and assist you in reaching a settlement while avoiding a costly Court process.
It is advisable that you have your family lawyer present during this process to answer your questions as well as provide sound legal advice and representation.
After the negotiations, all decisions will be reflected in a written contract called a Separation Agreement.
Both parties sign the contract, with witnesses and certificate signed by each party’s lawyer, and at that point it becomes a valid, binding and enforceable contract. This means that the Court will honour and respect the agreement as if it were a Court Order.
Mediation, however, is voluntary and cannot be forced, meaning that you and your partner/spouse must both agree to mediation and the time frame during which it is to be completed.
How Can Mediation Help You?
Mediation can provide an incredible sense of relief as it helps both parties to save time and money and it is also more efficient than a court process. It can also be entered into at any time during your separation and can even cool down the temperature between yourself and your Ex.
Most significantly, it can reduce the emotional and psychological damage that occurs during divorce, stemming from an inherently adversarial litigation process. It reduces the potential for negative outcomes in Court, which seldom has the flexibility to tailor a process to suit your individual family dynamics.
Mediation is very non-adversarial and does not pit the parties against one another; instead it focuses on finding a balance between partners/spouses. This can be particularly helpful for child parenting cases, as children will not be exposed to hostility between their parents.
It promotes resolution by allowing the parties to work together and discuss solutions where both parties feel that they reached a balanced and respectful result. In many cases, the ability to communicate freely and openly enables partners or spouses to improve their post-divorce relationship, making it an easier transition for both of them.
Hiring a Mediator in Calgary
If you and your partner or spouse have agreed to hire a mediator, you must both decide who that person will be. Hiring a mediator is a joint decision, ensuring that person chosen appreciates both views evenly and fairly.
Consider the following when hiring a mediator in Calgary:
- Experience in cases like yours and family law in general;
- Listens to both you and your significant other;
- Explains things in a clear and concise manner;
- Makes you feel comfortable and supported;
- Answers questions about the process;
- Has mediation training, accreditation or certification.
Please ensure you conduct your research thoroughly and ask questions to find the mediator that can be the best fit for you and your partner/spouse; this will help you to reach positive outcomes.
There is a brighter future ahead with McLean Legal. As your dynamic, multi-service family law firm in Calgary, McLean Legal can offer you personalized legal services tailored to your particular circumstances. We endeavour to resolve matters quickly and with minimal conflict, offering calm, professional, and realistic advice. Given our years of experience in family law, we can assist with your child support, spousal support, divorce, mediation and separation agreements, as well as civil litigation issues, commercial/corporate services, and real estate transactions. With over 30 years of experience and success, we’re the Calgary family lawyers that offer you a brighter future. Book your free consultation by calling 587-353-2632.