Family mediation is a process where the individuals involved in a dispute (the “parties”) meet with an impartial third party, the mediator. The mediator helps the parties resolve their own dispute without the intervention of a judge or arbitrator. It is a less expensive, faster and more stress free option for resolving a family issue than litigation.
During the course of a family mediation, each party is encouraged to actively participate in the discussions with their lawyer and to speak directly with the mediator during private sessions (“caucuses”). The mediator may record key points from each meeting on paper (or in the case of online meetings using video conferencing) for you to review at home. The mediator will also help the parties work through their issues and emotions and find solutions that are in their best interests.
It is normal to spend time during family mediation rehashing events of the past and expressing feelings of anger, hurt, betrayal, fear and disappointment. It is equally important to focus on possible future arrangements. Mediated agreements are often more flexible than court orders and can be changed by mutual agreement, as circumstances change over time. The mediator will explain to both parties how any proposals they produce in the mediation can be converted into a legally binding agreement and/or a court order. Depending on the nature of the proposals they will either be made to apply retrospectively or in the case of children’s proposals immediately. family mediation