Choosing Mediation After Filing For Divorce
Divorce is rarely an easy option to choose. Once a couple, or an individual, has decided it is the best course, there are many more decisions that have to be made before the divorce is finalized. What form the divorce will take is one of those decisions: citizens of British Columbia have many paths they can follow, including traditional litigation. Mediation, however, is becoming a more popular choice for many, including some who probably never considered it.
To initiate a divorce in B.C., an application must be submitted to the provincial Supreme Court. Though this might seem like the first step toward a protracted legal battle, there is still the opportunity to opt for mediation. Ironically, both partners are not required to choose this path. In fact, one spouse can compel the other to attend mediation by serving him or her with a Notice to Mediate.
Once the spouse has been served with the Notice, he or she will be required to attend a mediation session, unless certain criteria are met. For example, he or she would not have to attend if the same issues had already been discussed in mediation. Also, the court may exempt the spouse if it would be impractical for him or her to attend, perhaps because they live a great distance away. It is also possible the mediator may decide mediation is not the appropriate method for the couple.
Mediation is a wonderful tool for couples who have chosen to end their marriage. For the right people, it may help avoid prolonged litigation and an emotional nightmare. The ability to enforce mediation may seem contradictory, but it may be a viable option in the right situation. Consulting with a family law attorney experienced with mediation in British Columbia might help make this alternative dispute resolution option work.
Source: familylaw.lss.ca, “Making mediation happen in a family law case in Supreme Court“, Accessed on Dec. 13, 2016