Legal Mediation | Child Custody Mediation
The point of legal mediation is to come to terms on the separation agreement. This is a formal agreement that lists family law issues. For example, child custody mediation will negotiate equal time between the parents. Or if one parent has child custody, then the mediation may be around child support. Other issues to be discussed in the family mediation process will be how property, as well as other assets, will be divided.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is family law mediation?
Family mediation is an informal method of alternative dispute resolution available to parties who are seeking a divorce or separation.
The process occurs in a confidential, timely and cost-efficient manner, with the aid of a neutral and impartial third party (mediator).
How long does mediation take?
Mediation will take as long as necessary to ensure the resolution of all issues in dispute or it will end when it appears that there is no reasonable prospect of resolving the dispute. The length of the mediation process varies and it will most likely depend on the number of the issues involved.
The ability of both you and your spouse or partner to be cooperative and agreeable will also influence the length of the process. It will definitely speed up the mediation, saving you both time and money.
Who typically acts as mediator?
Typically, mediators are social workers, lawyers or psychologists. However, the role of a mediator is not limited to those listed above, as it is possible for any professional to act as a mediator.
The most important consideration is selecting an individual who has completed training courses and, as a result, acquired the necessary skills to effectively lead and guide you to the full and final settlement of all issues stemming from the breakdown of your relationship.
What situations are best resolved with arbitration?
Arbitration contains an adversarial quality to it and removes decision making authority from the parties and vests it in an impartial arbiter. There is no need for you to cooperate with one another and discuss resolutions to your issues.
Therefore, parties who are not amicable or parties who do not wish to preserve and maintain a friendship, yet who wish to reduce the costs of litigation and the delays associated with it may benefit from arbitration.
Our family lawyers are willing to help guide you through the mediation. It is wise to consult with a lawyer before entering into a family mediation. There are three ways to reach out to our family lawyers:
- Book online at any time using our advanced booking software
- Text 778-676-3808 (24/7)
- Give us a call on our toll free line at 844-466-6LAW (524)
Our Toronto family law firm offers divorce mediation, family mediation, child custody mediation and child mediation.
The family mediation process is quite simple. Your lawyer will reach out to the other sides’ lawyer and recommend mediation. If you have a marriage agreement that says that disputes will go to mediation, there is no need to reach out to your spouses’ lawyer. If, on the other hand, mediation is not in the marriage agreement, then the other party will have to accept.
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Marriage & Divorce Mediation Services
Our family lawyers only recommend mediation during divorce if the following are present:
- The parties are likely to be able to reach an agreement
- You have fewer financial resources than the opposing party
If one of the parties is not going to be open to settlement because of their circumstances, it is best to head directly into the court system.
In the family law system, the party with fewer financial resources may settle quickly (and accept a bad deal) because they are afraid of becoming bankrupt from legal fees.
Mediation is also not recommended when there is the risk of assault and child neglect. Judges can help protect you and/or your child’s safety.
Family Law mediation
Most of the time the first step of the family law mediation process is meeting with individually with the mediator. The mediator will want to hear both parties’ case 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.
Read more: There Is Always Someone Cheaper
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 judgement 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 court room.
The mediator has training to ensure both of you get to tell your story.
Family Law Arbitration
The hope is that both of you will come to an agreement. If you are not able to reach agreement, then there are two other options:
- The family law court system
Get help with your family law mediation, call toll free 1-844-466-6529
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:
- Book online at any time using our advanced booking software
- Live chat in the bottom right of the screen
- Give us a call on our toll free line at 844-466-6LAW
Our Family Lawyers 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 our law firm to coach them on how to attend court.
We are flexible and are available to assist you whenever you need us. We hope you choose to reach out to us!
Lisa Romano-Dwyer shares the following information on the family law mediation processes and child wellbeing…
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”.
Again, individuals who are fully engaged in their family and wish to separate or divorce without causing any more emotional harm expected when families grow apart, 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.
Family Law Firm
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, 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 and worth a try for an agreed upon period until which 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 and to reconnect with a lawyer for a temporary, interim, or final rendering in family court by a judge or justice of the peace.
Mediated agreements are best described as legally binding, and where successfully implemented, affordable fair solutions to separation and divorce proceedings that are all too often acrimonious and painful for everyone involved.