Are you looking for family law mediation? Our family lawyers always suggest getting a marriage agreement. If the only thing that your marriage agreement contains is a mediation and arbitration clause, it is worth getting.
We currently have two family law mediators. Contact us and we will connect you with a lawyer.
Mediation is when a third party (normally a lawyer) is hired to try to bring both parties to a settlement. This often happens in the boardroom of the mediator. The point is to avoid court.
There are three main benefits of avoiding court:
- It’s less expensive.
- It’s private. In a courtroom, everything is open to the public. This means that reporters and law students may come in and sit in on your family law trial.
- It is often much quicker. Going to court can take years. Mediation may take a few weeks.
Family Law mediation
Most of the time the first step of the family law mediation process is meeting individually with the mediator.
The mediator will want to hear both parties’ cases and make a list of the items that the parties agree on and a list of the items the parties still need to negotiate.
Most of the time, the parties may agree on 80% of the issues, but cannot agree on the final few items. This is often around the children.
The main role of the mediator is to be non-biased. This means the mediator will not befriend or get close to either party. This is true even for the party that found and hired the mediator.
The mediator will clearly outline the family mediation process and steps to mediation.
Family law mediation is complex. Mediators do not have the power to make a final judgment in the way that an arbitrator or a family law judge can.
However, it is important to know that the findings of the family mediator may be used in the arbitration or family law courtroom.
The mediator has the training to ensure both of you get to tell your story.
You can download a template mediation agreement here —> Collaborative Process Agreement
Speak to a lawyer before signing anything. It’s just a template.
Family Law Arbitration
The hope is that both of you will come to an agreement. If you are not able to reach an agreement, then there are two other options:
- The family law court system
You should always consult a lawyer in a family law dispute. Also, hire a lawyer that can help with family law mediation. Here are three ways to reach our family lawyers:
Find A Family Lawyer That Can Help
Our family lawyers have a wealth of experience and they are willing to share their knowledge with you. Some clients choose to self represent but hire a law firm to coach them on how to attend court.
We have lawyers that are flexible and are available to assist you whenever you need us. We hope you choose to reach out to us!
Our lawyers feel it is important to keep you out of the courtroom if possible. We work with you and your spouse or partner to mediate an agreement that you both can live with.
We find arbitration is also less stressful on the family and can reduce your legal costs.
How will hiring a mediator help me with my family law issue?
Separation and divorce processes are complicated matters that often occur in a myriad of social and emotional experiences for everyone involved.
Family law mediation is often considered for people who can work with a neutral third-party individual who has little to no emotional investment or attachment to the problems at hand.
This impartiality and emotional distance often provide the clarity of mind and fairness required to develop a consensus-based model for the division of financial and physical goods held in common.
Certified family mediators have taken specialized courses in mediation processes and generally have backgrounds in social work, law, education, and health care.
Registered Master Level Social Workers with Child and Family Expertise and Training are often best suited to mediate family law matters involving children and adolescents.
Sensitive to the needs of minors, social workers will centralize the needs of children in mediation processes and outcomes.
Mediators Are Often Less Expensive
Often less expensive than lawyers, mediators are highly trained individuals who usually also have extensive collaborative counselling experiences required to ensure that everyone’s perspective is heard and validated in the process.
Of course, not everyone will “get their way” in mediation, however, it is critical that everyone “has their say”.
Where people in a family do not feel that their particular perspective or wish has been heard by the mediator, then the process is not likely to yield the positive results that people are hoping to achieve.
Unlike lawyers, mediators are engaged with the expectation that they do not “take sides”.
Some individuals are fully engaged in their family and wish to separate or divorce without causing any more emotional harm expected when families grow apart.
They need to feel that their opinions, experiences, desires, and wishes have been heard and validated first by the mediator.
Where people believe that a mediator exhibits preferential treatment to one person’s point of view in the family, then the process is also unlikely to yield results that will hold over the long term.
What does the mediation process look like?
In general, mediation is a process whereby your Mediator meets with every member of the family individually and where recommended in smaller groups or dyads.
It is the job of this impartial person to listen to the opinions of all members of the family, to gather information and facts shared, and then to use this information to help everyone develop a plan that works for all involved.
Where a mediator is procured to assist with the entire divorce proceeding, then individuals agree to provide all their personal financial information, holdings, and reasons for separation and divorce to the mediator.
Finding The Top Family Lawyer
A mediated agreement will be developed in the form of a report, which is sealed by the signatures of the adults involved. A divorce mediation process is as legally binding as an agreement created by lawyers.
Most mediators will help families generate a few variations of the same basic plan.
These plans may be related to any one of the several potential issues related to separation and divorce including the fair division of financial investments.
They can also include properties, pensions, and the often-heated issues related to child custody and access.
Family Law Mediation
Most people have a good idea about what they believe will be fairest for them after deciding to separate or divorce.
Of course, these subjective plans are often biased by the person’s own sense of family life with whom they married or under guardianship.
It is the role of the mediator to provide a safe and trusted forum in which to unpack, discuss, challenge, review, and rewrite, amend, or append the plan.
Family law mediation ends when everyone in the family agrees that the plan is workable. They believe it’s worth a try for an agreed-upon period.
After the trial, it is re-evaluated either with the services of a mediator or independently.
What happens if mediation fails?
Family law mediation fails when family members involved in the process cannot agree with the plan or several iterations of the plan. Sometimes, this failure happens during the mediation process.
People have the option to cancel the mediation process. They can then reconnect with a lawyer for a temporary, interim, or final rendering in family court. This would be done by a judge or justice of the peace.
Mediated agreements are best described as legally binding, and were successfully implemented, affordable fair solutions to separation and divorce proceedings that are all too often acrimonious and painful for everyone involved.
Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law