An Out-of-Court Option for Resolving Family Disputes

What is Mediation?

Mediation is another out of court dispute resolution process. A neutral third party, called a mediator, meets with the spouses and facilitates a compromised, negotiated settlement through the use of non-coercive, problem-solving techniques. The mediator must be a qualified family dispute resolution professional in accordance with the Family Law Act. In mediation, you and your spouse will each have your own lawyer, who may or not be present during the mediation sessions, and will provide legal advice before you and your spouse sign a separation agreement. Between mediation sessions, you and your spouse may also consult other professionals, including accountants, financial advisors, insurance advisors and therapists. Mediation can be appropriate when there is little conflict between the spouses or when one or both spouses do not need support going through the negotiation process.

The Role of the Mediator

The mediator does not give legal advice to either of the spouses, does not advocate for either of the spouses and, most importantly, does not make decisions for you and your spouse. The mediator gathers and reviews financial information, explores various settlement options with you and your spouse, and assists you to communicate with one another, ensuring that each of you expresses what is important to you.


If a settlement is reached, some mediators will provide you or your lawyers with a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines what you have agreed to, or they will prepare a draft separation agreement for each of you to review with your lawyers.

Who Is Best Suited for Mediation?

Mediation is best suited for spouses who are confident expressing their own views and have a similar ability to negotiate. Mediation may not be suitable if one spouse or the children have been abused physically, emotionally, verbally or financially, or if there is a power imbalance between the spouses. In these situations the spouses benefit by the support provided in the Collaborative Process.


While lawyers are always involved, the construction of the team will usually be determined by the facts and issues to be resolved.


What Is the Difference Between Mediation and the Collaborative Process?

In mediation, most often the spouses meet with a qualified mediator to negotiate a resolution and most often meet with their family lawyer separate from the other spouse. At the end of the mediation each spouse takes the agreement to their own respective family lawyer for legal advice prior to signing the agreement. This is because the mediator is a facilitator and cannot provide legal advice to each of the spouses. In the Collaborative Process the spouses meet with their collaborative lawyers present to seek a resolution of all matters. Because of this the Collaborative Process most often provides more support to each of the spouses going through the process. This becomes especially important where there conflict or a power imbalance between the spouses or where both of the spouses are not confident in their negotiation abilities.

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Your Team

GENERAL INFORMATION

Collaborative Divorce Network

778-732-1375

info@nocourtdivorcebc.com

Shelley Behr

Divorce Coach/Child Specialist

Garth Edwards

Lawyer

Robert W. Mostar

Lawyer

Susan Vanderwerff

Divorce Coach/Child Specialist

Angiola De Stefanis

Lawyer

Deirdre Severide

Lawyer

Danny Zack

Lawyer

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