The Family Law Mediation Process
Mediation helps separating couples settle their disputes outside of court with the help of a neutral third party. The mediator does not impose decisions, but helps the parties communicate, remain reasonable and focus on solutions.
Mediation can help you resolve conflicts regarding your property, children, support payments and any other matters that need to be settled in order to move forward. It does so in a way that is more respectful, cooperative, flexible, faster and more affordable than traditional litigation in the court system. It also helps you to maintain a focus on your children and to preserve relationships.
At West Coast ADR Law Group, we have trained mediators as well as lawyers who regularly work with mediators.
Mediation Step By Step
In British Columbia, the family law mediation process is as follows:
- Each party completes an intake form.
- Each party speaks with the mediator to provide background information and for the mediator to assess if mediation is suitable.
- The parties discuss documentation, such as tax returns, property assessments and bank statements, which may be required during mediation. Full and honest disclosure of all relevant information and documents is vital to success.
- The parties also discuss whether other professionals, such as lawyers, financial specialists, child care experts or mental health professionals, will be brought in.
- A Mediation Agreement is signed by all parties.
- Meetings are held to discuss matters in dispute. The mediator may meet with parties separately, acting as a go-between, or meet with both parties at the same time. The mediator will not take sides or give advice, though he or she may provide legal information if necessary.
- Once an agreement has been reached, it is turned into a legally binding separation agreement by the mediator or lawyers.
- It is recommended that each party review the agreement with a lawyer before signing.
If you cannot reach an agreement, whatever was discussed or agreed upon cannot be used in court. Your mediator cannot be asked to testify. However, even if it does not result in an agreement, mediation can still save you time and effort by separating insurmountable problems from those that can be easily decided out of court.
Contact West Coast ADR Law Group
The mediation process focuses on creating solutions and moving forward. Contact us at 604-531-9494 or fill out our online form to set up an appointment. We serve clients in Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster and surrounding areas.