Offices in Ottawa and Perth
(613) 722-1500

CONTACT US (613) 722-1500

Family Law

Family Mediation

Karine Jackson - Family Mediator

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.

Client Testimonials:

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.

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Offices in Ottawa and Perth     (613) 722-1500

Frequently Asked Questions

Family law mediation is one of the out-of-court settlement mechanisms available that we call alternative dispute resolution process (ADR).  Family dispute resolution process means a process outside of court that is used to attempt to resolve family law issues in dispute. The mediator is a trained professional that will host mediation sessions and support the parties through the negotiation process.

If you are looking for a mechanism which can help you address your separation issues, and you’re looking to engage in a respectful and reasonable negotiation process, then mediation might be a good fit for you and your ex-spouse.  The best way to know if mediation is for you is to reach out to a mediator to discuss your situation.

Once you and your ex-spouse have decided to give mediation a try, the next step will be to find a mediator that is the right fit for both of you. You can reach out to a mediator and ask for an introductory meeting before you decide to proceed with that person. Once a mediator is chosen, the mediator will schedule individual intake meetings with each of you. During the intake meeting, the mediator will ask you about your situation, your goals, and your concerns. The mediator will also complete a domestic violence screening, to ensure mediation is appropriate in your situation.

It is always recommended to obtain independent legal advice (ILA) before signing an agreement. That being said, it’s not mandatory and it is possible for you to sign your mediated agreement without receiving ILA, if you are comfortable doing so. If you decide to sign a mediated agreement without receiving ILA, you will need to sign an ILA waiver.

In most cases, mediation costs will be lower than court costs. Mediation fees are usually divided between you and your ex-spouse, which will have a great impact on each of your overall costs. Mediation will also provide a settlement environment, which will encourage parties to reach agreements quicker, as opposed to the adversarial environment that most people experience when going to court.

An agreement reached during mediation can be legally binding if it is properly drafted and executed. To be legally binding, a mediated agreement must be signed by the two parties, dated, and witnessed by an adult 3rd party. The witness does not need to be a lawyer or a notary.

There are various options of qualified mediators with different backgrounds and expertise which can help you with your specific situation. A lawyer-mediator will not be able to provide you with legal advice, however, they will be able to provide you with valuable information on family law and ensure your separation terms meet certain legal requirements. A mediator who is a lawyer will also be able to draft a separation agreement, which a non-lawyer mediator cannot do.

Related Service Areas

Child And Spousal Support
Cohabitation And Marriage Agreements
Collaborative Practice
Division Of Property And Assets
Divorce And Separation
Fertility & Surrogacy Law
Parenting Time and Decision-Making Responsibility
Voice of the Child in Family Law

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