Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Mediation?
It is a process in terms of which both parties, assisted by a mediator, work out the arrangements for themselves and for their children rather than having their divorce or separation controlled by attorneys or a court.
Mediators do not impose decisions on the parties. They focus on minimizing conflict, exploring options to settle and encouraging parental co-operation where children are involved.
Q: When can mediation be sought?
- Before divorce or separation
- During divorce or separation
- After divorce or separation
- Whenever there are issues of conflict to resolve
Q: What issues can be brought to mediation?
- Any problems emanating from separation or divorce
- Decisions about separation or divorce
- Arrangements for care of or access to children
- Housing and other property matters
- Financial support
- Financial settlements
Q: Is mediation confidential?
Yes, mediation is confidential. Discussions to try and resolve conflict are “without prejudice” and legally privileged, which means the information may not be used by either party in court. Mediators treat the information is strictly confidential unless someone’s life or welfare is in danger.
Q: Is mediation affordable?
The number of sessions required depends on the nature and complexity of problems. But mediation usually involves a fraction of the cost of legal proceedings. The charges may be shared by the parties in any way they agree.
Q: Is mediation a substitute for the services of a lawyer?
No, even where the mediator is a lawyer, he or she does not give legal advice. The parties are encouraged to seek legal advice during the process, and especially to peruse any resulting settlement agreement.
Q: The conflict is high-how can we possibly meet face to face?
Mediators are trained to deal with high emotions. All the couple needs is a desire to work things out peacefully and avoid contested legal proceedings.
Q: Can meditation work where one party is very powerful?
The mediator will not allow one party to overpower the other. The mediator will stop the process if any imbalance of power becomes disproportionate. Many spouse who have considered themselves the “weaker” party have been very effective in mediation.
(Sources: Family Mediation Practice; Family Life; Findlaw)
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