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.

Child and Spousal Support

Many clients are fearful of support obligations. The paying spouse is fearful of having to pay support that is beyond his or her capacity to pay. The receiving spouse is fearful of…

Read More

Divorce Coaches

Get the help you need to understand and handle your feelings in a healthy way with divorce coaches through the Collaborative Divorce Network. Our Team includes qualified and compassionate…

Read More

Unmarried Spouses

The Family Law Act in British Columbia has changed the legal framework in many ways - most significantly, spouses in a marriage-like relationship who have lived together…

Read More

Children and Divorce

If you are considering a divorce and you have young children, their emotional and mental stability is undoubtedly your greatest concern. While research has proven the remarkable resiliency of children…

Read More

Parenting Plans

A parenting plan is an agreement that separating parents develop together about how they will share parenting time and the day-to-day responsibilities of parenting…

Read More

Separation Agreements

When relationships come to an end, challenges often arise when children are involved, when a spouse has inherited property or come into the relationship with more property than…

Read More

Family Law

The ending of a marriage or relationship can be tumultuous. Coping day-to-day with this new reality is difficult enough, much less worrying about the long-term impact…

Read More

Spouses without Children

Divorces that don’t involve children aren’t necessarily less complicated. These spouses need to reach resolution with respect to family, property, family debts and support obligations…

Read More

Cohabitation and Marriage Agreements

Coming to an agreement in advance to deal with life’s contingencies can be a freeing experience for spouses. Establishing the framework for managing major issues when they are not…

Read More

Your Team


Collaborative Divorce Network



Shelley Behr

Divorce Coach/Child Specialist


Garth Edwards



Robert W. Mostar



Deirdre Severide



Danny Zack


Created by

Legal notice