What is Family Mediation?

Even though the field of Family Mediation is growing, it is still a relatively unknown service. A lot of people have heard of it, but most only have a vague idea about what it is. Most people who call my office ask me to walk them through the basics of mediation and how the process would work. Here’s an overview of some of the important things to know about family mediation, and how I conduct the process in my practice.

The mediation process starts with individual meetings with each party. These meetings are a chance for me to get to you, your concerns, and what’s important to you. It’s an opportunity for you to tell me about yourself and your situation confidentially, and from your perspective. I’m not trying to figure out who was “right” or “wrong” in what happened – I just want to understand you and where you’re coming from. I also use these meetings to screen for any potential safety issues that could stem from mental health concerns, power imbalance, or substance abuse. If these are present it doesn’t mean that mediation can’t continue, but there may be some changes to how the process will be structured.

When the individual meetings are complete then joint sessions can begin. I usually book mediation sessions for two hours at time, and typically meetings are about two weeks apart. As a mediator I’m trained in family law in Ontario and conflict resolution. That means I’m guiding you through the agreement with relevant legal information, while at the same time facilitating productive communication. If conflict arises we address it, and I assist you to get to the bottom of it and choose solutions that work for both of you.

The majority of my clients complete mediation in 3, 2 hour sessions. Once complete I follow up with a draft of their agreement that they can review. This is also another good time for each party to get legal advice about what is in their best interest. Both parties are free to ask for any revisions to the documents, and after those are addressed then the document is complete. Every file is a little different, but most of my family mediation clients complete the process within 2-4 months.

If you’d like to know more about how this process might work for you I’m happy to schedule no-fee consultation calls to discuss it with you. When you can use family mediation, it’s the best option for a peaceful separation.

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