When is family mediation a good option?
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution that is commonly used by families to resolve conflicts arising from a divorce or separation. It involves negotiation between the spouses with the help of a neutral third party, who is known as the mediator. While the mediator is often a lawyer, they are not there to give legal advice or to take sides. You can bring your lawyer with you to a mediation session, or consult your lawyer ahead of time if you prefer.
Family mediation can be a faster and more cost-effective way to deal with family conflicts when compared to taking these issues to court. Our Edmonton divorce lawyers can help you determine when family mediation is a good option and whether it is the best option in your circumstances.
When can you use family mediation?
While the use of mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is typically voluntary, the Alberta court has changed the rules in response to COVID-19 and the resulting backlog in the courts. It is now possible for a judge to order the parties to a family action to participate in some form of ADR before they can proceed through the court system. As of May 2020, Calgary and Edmonton have a family court docket, which requires the court to explore the possibility of using ADR with each family that appears before them.
Some mediators recommend that mediation is not appropriate in cases where family violence has occurred or where one spouse tends to bully the other. It may be possible to correct for any power imbalance in your relationship by bringing your lawyer with you to the mediation session.
What issues can a family mediator help to resolve?
Mediation can be used to resolve any of the disputes arising from your separation or divorce. They can help you and your spouse come to an agreement regarding:
- the payment of child support or spousal support
- the division of family property or the payment of family debts
- child custody or guardianship
- parenting schedules and other disputes relating to the children.
They can also help resolve any other matter that might be preventing spouses from moving towards a solution. For example, if one spouse has failed to produce certain documents that the other spouse wants to see before agreeing to a specific division of the family property, the mediator may be able to help them negotiate a solution to the problem and relieve the spouses of needing to bring an application for the production of those documents in court.
Is there anything a mediator cannot do?
The only thing a mediator is unable to do is grant a divorce. A divorce must be granted by the court. However, it is fairly straight-forward to obtain a simple divorce from the court once all of the other issues arising from your divorce have been settled. You do not need to appear in court to obtain a divorce.
Book a consultation with our Edmonton family lawyers to see if mediation is right for you
One of our Edmonton family lawyers can help you determine when family mediation is a good option. We have been proudly helping Albertans with their family mediation issues for decades now and a member of our legal team will be pleased to speak with you. Contact us today to figure out if family mediation is the right option for you.
Disclaimer: Please note the content contained in this article is not intended to act as legal advice as each matter is different. Please consult with an Alberta lawyer for specific legal advice on this topic