home | resources | separation & Divorce | custody & access | parenting plans | elder mediation | Family Circle

F.A.Q.

WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER MEDIATION?

  • Mediation gives you control over the decision making process for your family. You control the agenda for each session.
  • You, as parents, know your family’s needs best and are the most appropriate people to determine what is in your children's best interests.
  • Lawyers are trained in a win/lose approach and use confrontation to get the best deal for their client. Mediators use a win/win approach to get the best agreement that everyone can live with.
  • You maintain control through mediation that you would lose when a lawyer speaks for you or a judge makes decisions for you.
  • In court, a judge can only spend a short time in your case conference to hear the basics of your case. The judge has no opportunity to get to know you personally or know what would be best for your individual family circumstances.
  • Mediation gives you the time you need speaking face to face with each other to decide what schedule and routines will be in your children’s best interests.
  • Children certainly benefit when their parents demonstrate that they can cooperate.
  • Mediation is confidential so participants feel free to communicate openly and honestly. The one exception to the confidentiality rule is if potential harm to anyone is disclosed. By law the mediator is required to disclose this information
  • Even though you may feel apprehensive, the mediator is there to help you talk to each other and have productive discussions
  • UPDOWN

WHEN SHOULD MEDIATION BEGIN?

  • Often, people begin mediation before separation. However, you may mediate at any stage in the separation or divorce process.
  • Because Mediation helps to maintain positive relationships, it is beneficial to make decisions before conflict escalates. It is easier to maintain a positive relationship than re-establish one. Most communication and relationship problems can be managed in the mediation process.
  • Mediation develops a pattern of positive dialogue to use when discussing future parenting issues
  • There are legal reasons that might make it advantageous to come to an agreement before one party leaves the matrimonial home and the children’s residency becomes established.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

  • Mediation always includes an intake screening session with each participant which is usually one to one and a half hours
  • Joint/group sessions usually last between one and three hours in length
  • The length of the mediation is dependent on the complexity of the case.
  • The number of sessions depends on how many issues there are to mediate and how willing the parties are to cooperate
  • If there are only one or two issues to mediate, an agreement can be reached in as few as two hours
  • A full parenting plan may take six to eight hours or more, depending on how much detail the parties want definedUPDOWN

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

  • Judy will meet with you personally for half an hour, at no cost to you, to determine the suitability of your case for mediation.
  • Mediators charge an hourly fee for all services, which include an intake and screening meeting with each participant, mediation sessions, and the final written report or Memorandum of Understanding.
  • The cost will depend on how intricate your case is and how long it takes to reach an agreement.
  • The cost is usually shared by the participants.
  • Mediation is usually less expensive than using litigation or going to court. Because of the nature of litigation, it is expensive and often takes many months, if not longer, to complete. Going to court takes even longer, resulting in even higher costs and often increases conflict among the participants.
  • Since mediation supports relationships and minimizes confrontation, you will not only save money, but save time and emotional stress.
  • Check with your employer or your Employee Assistance Plan to see if funding is available for mediation.

HOW OFTEN WILL WE MEET?

  • Sessions will be scheduled at your request according to availability. Some evening sessions are available.

DO I NEED A LAWYER?

  • Yes. You should consult a lawyer, before or during and after mediation to become aware of your legal rights and responsibilities.
  • When you have completed the final agreement with the mediator, it is in your best interests to consult a lawyer to have it reviewed and inserted into your separation agreement.
  • When property division and financial issues are involved, it is beneficial to involve a lawyer to ensure that you have an accurate valuation of your assets.UPDOWN

WILL THE MEDIATOR MAKE DECISIONS?

  • A mediator does not make decisions for you, but can give relevant information so that you can make your own informed decisions.
  • A mediator’s role is to provide the framework for you to explore alternatives and make decisions together.

CAN I STOP MEDIATION AT ANY POINT?

  • Yes, mediation can be terminated by either of the participants or by the mediator at any time:
           - if a participant feels unsafe continuing to negotiate with their partner
           - if a participant feels that it is not possible to come to an agreement
           - if the mediator feels that there is a reason that the mediation shouldn’t continue
  • You will be asked to sign an “Agreement to Mediate”. The terms of the mediation are outlined in that document.
  • The mediation agreement may reserve the right to call you back for one final session to prevent an impulsive termination.

HOW DO I START?

  • Email Judy at the contact information below or at (705) 349-1811
  • Judy will speak to you on the phone to explore whether mediation is the best process for your case.
  • If you prefer, Judy will meet with you personally for half an hour, at no cost to you, to determine the suitability of your case for mediation.UPDOWN

HOW DO I CHOOSE A MEDIATOR?

The mediator will:

  • be accredited by one of the mediation organizations, such as OAFM, CFM or ADR
  • be compassionate and caring
  • be empathetic and an attentive listener
  • quickly establish rapport, trust and a feeling of safety
  • fully explain the process
  • not give legal advice and encourage you to consult a lawyer
  • encourage questions
  • demonstrate that she understands your interests and needs
  • be impartial, unbiased and non-judgmental
  • create an environment where each person’s voice is heard
  • model good communication strategies
  • help you to express what is important to you
  • help you to develop creative solutions to help you and your partner resolve difficult issues
  • facilitate a realistic agreement
  • leave you with a sense that you can face the future with confidence