what to expect
My role as mediator is to facilitate a discussion between the parties and help them to navigate their way through the decisions that need to be made as former spouses. As your mediator I am a neutral third party. I am not there to tell you what to do or make decisions for you. You know yourselves and your children best and it is my role to assist you to sort out the issues you want to address.
As parties in the mediation I ask that you come to the table with a willingness to speak honestly and openly with each other. I ask that you come with the sincere intention of finding resolution. Mediation is a confidential process.
I meet with each party prior to mediation to learn more about your unique situation, help you to define the issues and get you thinking about potential outcomes.
We then come together and I assist you to have a discussion with each other that addresses those issues in a respectful, collaborative manner. It is not uncommon for former spouses to find it difficult or sometimes even near impossible to have these conversations. It is my role to ease that stress, keep you on track and help you to find a way forward that is in the best interest of your children.
If an agreement is reached I will write up those agreements in a Memorandum of Understanding. I encourage each party to seek legal advice on the Memorandum before signing it. A Memorandum of Understanding is not a legally binding document. It is a document of sincere and bona fide intention to move forward as agreed upon. A signed Memorandum can become legally binding as part of a filed Court Order or other legally binding document as advised by independent legal counsel. I can provide you with information on these next steps if needed.
I specialize in assisting parents to make co-parenting decisions regarding a child with special needs.
Issues that parents commonly seek agreement on are:
how decisions will be made in the future
where the children will live
time with extended family
division of finances
Benefits of mediation
The parties share the cost of one mediator instead of each hiring a lawyer
Even if a lawyer attends mediation the costs are reduced compared to the time required for prep, documentation, and the actual court proceeding
Mediation focuses on problem solving, collaboration and reaching an agreement resulting in avoiding many unnecessary costs
Mediation can be scheduled more quickly than a court proceeding
Mediation can prevent the financial and emotional stress of a long, drawn out negotiation or court process that gets in the way of reaching a settlement
A collaborative approach can lead to reaching an agreement more quickly
The parties in mediation are in control of the process and the outcome
Parties know their children best and can make choices that are in their best interest
Control over the process can lead to agreements the parties may not have thought of in more adversarial options
Mediation can provide more flexibility in options than may be available through litigation
Parties feel more satisfaction at the end of a mediation because they have created the end result
Agreements made in mediation are more likely to be honoured by both parties
A successfully mediated agreement between parties can lay a positive groundwork for future decision making and problem solving
benefits to the children
Mediation is quicker than court allowing children to begin adjust to new structures, schedules and routines
Mediation is less contentious than court and can assist parents to redefine their new co-parenting relationship
Parents, who know their children best, are in control of the decisions being made
Mediation can lay the groundwork for positive future interactions, allowing former spouses to practice collaboration, problem solving and understanding each other in their new roles