Families going through separations are encouraged to try to resolve the issues through a family dispute resolution process.
Negotiating amongst yourselves is a good place to start, if you and your spouse are able to have respectful and productive discussions. This is often referred to as the kitchen table method. It can prove to be difficult, however not impossible to resolve all issues and all discussions should be held with the caveat that each person is entitled to get legal advice before reaching an agreement. These discussions may be helpful in establishing a few base items such as the date of separation and next steps. Being that a separation requires the resolution of some complex legal issues, it’s important to remember that there might be information that you aren’t aware of that can impact your rights and responsibilities.
If negotiating between the two of you isn’t working, or if you have reached a point where you need help with some of the more complex issues, a mediator can help you. While a mediator will not impose a settlement, the mediator is a trained professional who will host mediation sessions and facilitate and guide the parties through the negotiation process. While a mediator does not provide legal advice, the mediator has knowledge of the law that will help inform the process.
Mediation can look very different from one situation to the next. Your mediator will meet with each of you individually to assess your goals and concerns. Unlike the court setting, a mediator has the option of creating a process that will be customized to your needs.
The mediator also has the responsibility of ensuring that any power imbalance, difficulty in communicating, or domestic violence concerns are addressed and do not compromise the mediation. In the cases where these concerns are present, the mediator will suggest options to effectively reduce the power imbalance and/or address concerns of violence and safety, if possible.
If you would like to find out more about our mediation services, we offer complimentary meet and greet video consultation (20 minutes) with our mediator, Karine Jackson.
There’s no easy way to divorce, however, mediation can ease the discomfort as you take the steps toward resolution.
Because mediation is confidential, parties are often more willing to explore settlement options thereby allowing the mediator to assist with generating proposals and solutions. You are also able to create plans that are specific to your family’s needs, essentially maintaining control of your future instead of handing your decision-making powers to a third party, such as a judge.