We Put Relationships First and Minimize Emotional Stress and Cost
Resolving disputes in our court system can be slow, stressful, expensive and can at times break the many issues arising from a separation into several different pieces decided in separate proceedings. Our courts are also very busy. Waiting to schedule hearings in court can itself cause significant delays, while parties wait for scarce hearing dates. Most importantly however, resolving disputes in court puts the power to decide into the hands of a complete stranger. As a result, going to court to resolve disputes arising from your separation should be a last resort.
In light of these realities, Mediation is an increasingly valuable alternative to resolving disputes in court. Mediation involves the parties, either alone or with their lawyer, meeting with a mediator to discuss their circumstances, and, find common ground through discussion and agreement. The mediator does not act as an advocate for either participant, but as an impartial facilitator and guide for discussions. The mediator also sometimes acts as an educator. The mediator’s uniquely impartial role can also assist the participants where their counsel may be more focused on positional or adversarial approaches. Discussions in mediation are off the record, in the sense that any proposals or agreements discussed in mediation cannot later be discussed in court. Parties are therefore free in mediation to have open discussions, listen, express their wishes and values, raise concerns, exchange information, brainstorm, and work together cooperatively to resolve the issues coming out of their separation. Mediation is a safe environment for those sometimes challenging discussions. Family Mediation as a process is also consensual and non-adversarial, which can go a long way towards preserving or even improving ongoing co-parenting relationships.
There are as many different kinds of mediators as can be imagined. A useful facilitator/mediator should possess a deep understanding of the issues and law that will be discussed by the people in front of them. This is because not only should the mediator guide the parties’ discussions to the extent possible towards resolution, but, the resolutions themselves should be crafted in the context of the prevailing law. While participants need not always follow what the law would do, and can make compromises outside what a Judge might decide, they should at least have the knowledge to understand what the law would provide and what they are leaving on the table in making compromises. This is educated decision-making, and is only practically possible in family mediation where both parties are either assisted by independent family law counsel, or, where the mediator is an experienced family law practitioner who shares that knowledge with both participants during the mediation process.
Any agreements reached in mediation are then formalized after each party obtains independent legal advice from their own separate lawyer. This is the ‘implementation’ phase and cannot be taken for granted or viewed as a ‘rubber stamp’ step. The formalization of mediated agreements is more assured and efficient if agreed terms have been reached in the proper context of the prevailing law. Much waste of legal expenses can result where a non-lawyer mediator guides the parties towards resolutions (which unknown to the parties and/or the mediator) stray too far from or even contrary to the prevailing law. In the context of family law mediation, the mediator cannot provide legal advice to either party, but they will share legal information (based on their knowledge and experience). This can seem very similar to legal advice, but it is not, because the mediator neither acts for nor advocates for either participant. Leamy Family Law provides non-lawyer assisted and lawyer assisted family mediation services to those who value maintaining control of the outcome in their own hands, and staying out of court.
Peace of Mind Comes Through Knowledge
Getting It Done
The first 30 minutes of initial consultations are free. If the consultation continues for significantly longer that half an hour, then the extra time is charged at our regular hourly rate.
Meetings for Independent Legal Advice for a Contract or Settlement Agreement are charged on a regular basis for the full time spent. Please see: Independent Legal Advice