Benefits of Mediation
Clients often wonder what their ‘out-of-court’ options are for resolving the issues between them and their former spouse. One such option is mediation and it is becoming a preferred means for clients in family law to resolve the conflict between them.
Mediation involves parties, either with or without counsel, meeting with an independent third party, the mediator, in an attempt to negotiate the terms of a settlement. In most cases, the mediator is an experienced family law lawyer or mediator specializing in the area of family law. The role of the mediator is to assist in the negotiations and provide creative solutions to resolve the issues at hand. Mediators do not take a side in the mediation and do not provide either party with legal advice.
Prior to engaging in parties are encouraged to speak to counsel regarding their rights and obligations and to determine whether or not the mediation will be open or closed. A closed mediation simply means that everything that is discussed is confidential and cannot be used by either party in the litigation. Closed mediation is often preferred as it ensures the parties are able to be open in the negotiations without any fallout if a settlement is not reached.
It is vital that parties review any terms of the agreement made at mediation with their counsel and obtain independent legal advice with respect to same prior to signing an agreement. A mediator cannot provide either party with independent legal advice.
Some of the benefits of mediation are as follows:
- Empowers the parties to reach a settlement based on the specific needs of their family;
- usually more cost-effective than litigation and in most cases faster than court;
- may help to reduce future conflict by encouraging communication between the parties in the development of a settlement;
- the process is private in contrast to a public court process;
- provides a more casual resolution situation then court
Are you looking for a mediation lawyer in Toronto?
Overall, if you and your spouse are both in agreement to mediation it may very well be a preferred approach to a settlement then commencing court proceedings. That being said, mediation is not for everyone and should be discussed with your counsel prior to committing to the process. It is important to remember that mediation must be agreed to by both parties and neither party can be forced to participate in the process. If you have any questions, please contact Baker and Baker Family Law Firm in Toronto.