I have heard about “mediation” for resolving family disputes – can you explain it?

 

 

Similar to the collaborative process which I introduced last month, mediation is a process which can also have tremendous positive effects on families going through separation and divorce.

Family Mediation is a safe and neutral environment in which families can resolve their disputes. A neutral mediator facilitates the parties’ discussions, encouraging them to identify and explore their core values while allowing them to find their own creative and unique solutions. Everything discussed in the mediation is 100% confidential.

The mediator does not provide legal advice. Parties are expected to each retain independent lawyers who may attend the mediation sessions, may provide advice on an as-needed basis, or may simply be retained to draft the final agreement and provide legal advice on the mediated result.

Similar to the collaborative process, parties may retain neutral third parties to provide expert advice.

Mediation allows parties to maintain simplicity of process; it is informal, legal costs are likely kept to a minimum, and parties save time by avoiding a complex legal process. In Alberta, family mediation is 100% voluntary; parties remain in control of the process, and may withdraw at any time. In Saskatchewan, family mediation may be court-ordered.

The goal of mediation is to assist parties to improve their family relationships by creating an open and honest dialogue.