Mediation is a voluntary process for resolving disputes, where the parties work with a trained and neutral mediator to help communicate effectively and negotiate an agreement. A mediator can educate the parties about the law and the different issues you need to decide on together, and guide the conversations to help develop your own solutions.
Family Mediation allows parties to discuss issues that arise when they separate (e.g. parenting decisions, schedules, child support, spousal support, property) in a neutral and collaborative environment. Mediation can also be effective for deciding upon the details of a cohabitation agreement or marriage contract. The mediation process is much less adversarial than court and is often chosen as a more amicable way of reaching a settlement.
Mediation works best when both parties are prepared to negotiate, and willing to consider some compromise so they can reach a mutually agreeable outcome. There is no force or coercion involved in mediation. It is a safe process in that there will be no outcome or decision made unless both parties agree.
The mediation process is completely confidential. As a result, if the parties do not reach an agreement, anything discussed at mediation, including any compromises proposed by a party, cannot be used in any later court proceeding.
The goal of any mediation is the achievement of a fair and equitable resolution to the dispute. The terms of the resolution can then be incorporated into a written agreement or contract.
MEDIATION WITH LOUISE MIMNAGH (AccFM)
Louise is an accredited family mediator with the Ontario Association of Family Mediation (OAFM), and she has extensively worked in family law since 2015. Louise offers services in all aspects of family mediation, including:
Parenting Agreements (for decision-making, parenting time schedules, and other post-separation parenting issues)
Financial Support (for table child support, special/extraordinary expenses, post-secondary school expenses, spousal support and related financial issues)
Property Division and Equalization (for married or unmarried couples to address property equalization, trust and common-law property claims)
Marriage Contracts and Cohabitation Agreements (for parties seeking to discuss their plans and expectations for the relationship, and as related to matters such as property, financial support, and estate planning).
THE FAMILY MEDIATION PROCESS
If you would like more information about family mediation services please contact Louise directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you are ready to begin the process:
2. Both parties will review and sign an Agreement to Mediate to ensure the confidentiality of the intake meeting and any mediation process;
3. The parties will each complete a Private Intake Meeting. These meetings are confidential and the mediator will meet with each party separately. This meeting provides an opportunity to discuss the mediation process, the issues to be mediated, any preparatory work that needs to be done prior to mediation, and any questions a party may have. These meetings typically last for approximately one hour;
4. If mediation is the right path forward, the parties will each pay their portion of the mediation retainer, and the Mediation will be scheduled. The mediator will assist the parties in developing their own solutions and agreement during these sessions. These sessions can either take place with both parties in the same room, or in separate rooms with the mediator moving between rooms ("shuttle mediation").
If required, a Joint Pre-Mediation Conference can be scheduled to ensure the parties have the information and disclosure prepared for a productive first Mediation Session. Parties are expected to provide any information, including financial information such as income or asset and liability disclosure, which may be necessary for the parties to make informed choices and ensure productive meetings.
When an agreement is reached in mediation it does not become binding until the parties receive legal advice and prepare the agreement into a legally binding Agreement (Separation Agreement, Domestic Contract or Court Order). Information on how this process can be achieved is discussed in mediation.
It is advisable and strongly recommended that each party receive Independent Legal Advice before commencing mediation, obtain independent legal advice throughout the process, and before signing any legally binding Agreements from the mediation process.