What If Mediation Doesn’t Work?

Many British Columbia couples find mediation an attractive alternative to divorce because it gives them more control over the situation and is a less adversarial process. However, despite everyone’s best intentions, not all meditation attempts actually result in an agreement. It’s important to understand what happens in the event that you are unsatisfied with a mediation attempt so you are prepared for the next step.

If you are not satisfied with the way the mediation is going while you are still in process, don’t give up hope. It’s common for these situations to go through a couple of bumps before an agreement is reached. Take a step back and honestly evaluate whether you are coming into the mediation with an attitude of cooperation and are prepared to make concessions. Both parties must be willing to work together for a successful mediation.

If you find that you just cannot reach an agreement, you are free to end the mediation at any time. You cannot be legally forced to continue a meditation. However, it’s important to be aware that the alternative is to take the case to trial, so make sure you really cannot reach an agreement before deciding to back out.

In some cases, a party may be unsatisfied with the arrangement after the mediation agreement has already been filed and turned into a court order. In these cases, there may be very little you can do unless it is a matter related to child custody or visitation and the child’s circumstances have changed significantly since the mediation. It’s best to talk to a lawyer about your options in these cases.

Source: British Columbia Ministry of Justice, “Ministry of Justice Guide to Mediation in BC,” accessed Feb. 12, 2016

Tips That Can Help Divorce Mediation Succeed

The divorce mediation process is focused on you and your spouse. The mediator simply helps you work together to find a solution that you’re both happy with so that you don’t have to let a judge make all of the important decisions. Below are a few tips that can help make this process successful.

  1.  Always work hard to be respectful and civil.
  2. Prepare in advance, perhaps by putting together a list of things that are important to you, ensuring that nothing is overlooked.
  3. Don’t hand out ultimatums, but be ready for an open discussion where both parties can talk and where compromises are a real possibility.
  4. Hand over all of the documentation that’s needed regarding the assets you have, and don’t hide anything.
  5. Be open to creative ideas. It may be hard to find solutions that work, but you have the best chance of finding them if you’re flexible and willing to think outside of the box.
  6. Try not to make emotional decisions. The mediator can help with this, but both you and your spouse have to do your best to keep emotions out of the discussion.
  7. When dividing assets, start by telling each other what you want the most. You may find that there are easy starting points, with items you badly want and that your spouse has no interest in. Dividing these first helps to simplify and shorten the process so that you can then work on the items you both desire.

It’s important to have the right mindset and goals when going into mediation in British Columbia, and these tips can help you get the results that you’re after.

Source: Breakup Care Package, “12 Tips to Prepare for Divorce Mediation,” Beth Hemmila, accessed Feb. 19, 2016

Several Factors Affect Divorces in British Columbia

When you are going through a divorce in British Columbia, there are several things that you must consider. One of these factors is how you will handle the divorce. If you and your spouse both agree that the marriage is over, you might decide to file for an uncontested divorce. In this type of divorce, one spouse will file for the divorce and the other spouse has to agree to it.

In an uncontested divorce, both spouses must agree on the grounds for the divorce. Unless there are accusations of abuse or adultery, you might not even have to step foot in court. Of course, you and your spouse will have to agree on all the aspects of the divorce. This can include how you will divide property and debts.

If you are planning on filing for a divorce here, you must be prepared to wait. You have to be separated for at least 12 months before you can become divorced. It doesn’t matter if your divorce is a fault divorce or a no fault divorce, the time limit still applies.

It is important to note that most divorces are handled as no fault divorces. The only instances in which a fault divorce would be appropriate are those in which one spouse has been abusive or adulterous. In those cases, the wronged spouse could file for a fault divorce.

Because divorce is such a major life event, you should make sure that you are well prepared when you are going through the process. This includes getting all of the questions you have answered so you are fully informed.

Source: FindLaw Canada, “Getting a divorce — FAQ,” accessed Feb. 04, 2016

Know Your Options for Family Law Matters

When you are in the process of dealing with family law issues, you likely want those issues to be resolved as quickly as possible. Generally, there are three options for handling family law issues — court, mediation and arbitration. If you are trying to decide which option is best for your case, you should understand each option. We can help you to learn how each option pertains to your case.

In a court proceeding, you would likely have to wait for a considerable amount of time for a court date to become available. A judge would hear the evidence in the case and make choices about the outcome of the case. You wouldn’t have any say in how it is handled. This proceeding is usually a public proceeding.

In mediation, you and your ex work together with the help of a trained mediator to decide the outcome of the case. You would have to agree on each point that is addressed. This option gives you more control over how the case is handled. If you can’t come to an agreement, you will end up having to go to court.

In arbitration, you and your ex decide on an arbitrator. This arbitrator hears the evidence and both sides of the issues. The arbitrator will then make a decision about how the case should be handled. The decision of the arbitrator is final, so you won’t have to go to court. This proceeding is confidential.

We know that this is a difficult decision. We can help you explore your options so that you can make an informed choice.