A family law mediator acts as a neutral party to help couples transition out of relationships in a healthy and peaceful way, without the stress of going to court. Experienced mediators help both parties see the viewpoint of the other, with the goal to reach an agreement that is best for everyone involved.
There are a number of factors that affect mediation for separation or divorce, including the complexity of the issues, whether children are involved, and the extent to which both spouses are motivated to seek a resolution. Mediators help couples resolve disputes regarding parenting time, child support, spousal support, the division of family property, etc.
In addition to keeping the situation fair and neutral, there are many benefits to hiring a mediator:
(1) Save time and avoid court delays – Compared to other forms of dispute resolution, mediation is very time effective. People are often surprised at how quickly a dispute can be resolved through hiring a skilled mediator. Court proceedings, for example, can potentially take years to conclude because the focus is on each spouse trying to prove their case (in terms of facts, fault, liability) to a judge. Mediation, on the other hand, is solely focused on settlement. Parties communicate directly with or without their lawyers. Plus, a qualified mediator is trained to resolve disputes quickly by keeping the parties focused and on track to expedite closure.
(2) Save money – Mediation is much more cost effective than a lawsuit. Mediation is handled out of court, so it bypasses the long and expensive court process. In mediation, there is only one mediator (one full-time professional) as opposed to two full-time lawyers trying to help the parties resolve their issues. Parties do not need to have full-time lawyers representing them throughout the process unless they want their lawyer(s) present at mediation. If the parties choose to attend mediation without their lawyers (which most people do), the mediator can help the parties resolve all their disputes, and the parties can then get independent legal advice from a lawyer of their choice.
(3) Protect assets – Mediation helps couples decide together what will happen to the family home, money, savings / investments, taxes, debts, etc. vs. having this dictated by a judge.
(4) Keep it confidential – Mediation happens in private. Unlike a public courtroom, no one usually sits in your mediation session except you or your lawyer. Information disclosed during mediation will not be revealed to anyone with very few exceptions. What happens in mediation is generally not admissible in court.
(5) Mediation improves communication and cooperation – As with all relationships, communication is key. With mediation, parties are more likely to openly discuss their views on the underlying dispute(s), which leads to mutually beneficial resolutions.
(6) Preserve relationships – In most cases, courts and litigation tends to bring out the worst in people, with both parties pointing fingers as to who did what. With mediation, there is a common goal of reaching an agreement vs. placing blame.
(7) Better flexibility for meeting times – As compared to litigation in court, both parties can agree on times to meet that won’t interfere with their work and other obligations.
(8) Better flexibility for parenting time – Parenting time can be agreed upon to best accommodate the schedules of both parties vs. having this decided upon in court.
(9) Less stress – When both parties have the goal of working together towards an amicable solution, there is less stress; you are in control over the outcome. Matters are discussed in a non-confrontation setting vs. arguing in a courtroom in an adversarial process. Also, knowing that your separation or divorce will be kept private also alleviates anxiety.
(10) Final say – Both parties have the final say as to what will happen – not a judge.
Should mediation happen to be unsuccessful, there is still an option to go to court.
To speak with a qualified mediator in Vancouver or New Westminster, call Rahul at Clean Divorce. He will be able to answer all of your questions regarding your options, rights, and how you can best protect yourself and your family when it comes to separating or divorce.