Is Family Mediation for Us?

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What is family mediation?

Family mediation is a way of helping people resolve issues relating to parenting, separation, and/or divorce.

A trained family mediator helps people identify issues and work out their own solutions.

You can try mediation before you start a court case or at any time during your court case.

What are the benefits of family mediation?

  • It is voluntary. Parties may leave at any time.
  • It allows parties to work out their own solution.
  • If children are involved, it keeps the focus on their best interests.
  • It may reduce future conflict by improving parties' communication and problem solving skills.
  • It may be less costly and is less formal than court.
  • It is a private process, unlike court.

Is family mediation appropriate for us?

For mediation to work, you must:

  • Be willing to try to work out a solution with the other party
  • Feel safe to meet with the other party to discuss the issues
  • Be able to communicate your needs and listen to the other party's concerns

What types of issues can we mediate?

  • How and when to separate
  • Parenting issues (including custody and access)
  • Child support
  • Spousal/Partner support
  • Division of property
  • Other important issues

How long does family mediation take?

Family mediation sessions take place when everyone is available. The length of time will depend on many factors, such as:

  • Number and type of issues to be mediated
  • Amount of conflict among the parties
  • Degree of communication and cooperation among the parties

What is the family mediator's role?

  • The mediator's role is to assist the parties to reach a fair and lasting settlement
  • The mediator does not take sides or make decisions for the parties
  • Mediators cannot give legal advice

Do we still need lawyers?

The mediator does not take the place of a lawyer. Each party is encouraged to get independent legal advice before and throughout the mediation process.

It is very important for you to know about your legal rights and obligations and how the law affects your issues.

Each party should review the final mediated agreement with his or her lawyer before signing.

You can start or continue with a court case if you do not reach agreement during mediation.

How do we choose a family mediator?

Everyone involved in the mediation must agree on who the mediator will be.

It is important that you ask questions to ensure that the mediator is right for your situation. You should be aware that mediators are not regulated.

Things to consider include:

  • Type and amount of family mediation training relating to your issues
  • Professional background (for example: law, social work, education, psychology)
  • How mediation fees are set and how they can be paid
  • Times and dates that mediation sessions can be scheduled

How can we find a family mediator?

Family mediation services are offered by private practice mediators, community groups and counselling organizations.

Court connected family mediation services are available at family court locations in Ontario. Click here for contact information for these services in your area.

Some court locations may offer additional family mediation services.

Check with the Family Law Information Centre at your local court house for more information.

For more information about family mediations or to find a mediator in your community consult your local yellow pages or contact:

Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM)
P.O Box 433
Carleton Place, ON K7C 3P5
Toll Free: 1-800-989-3025
Fax: 1-866-352-1579
E-mail: oafm@oafm.on.ca
Web Site: www.oafm.on.ca
Family Mediation Canada (FMC)
55 Northfield Drive East
Suite 180
Waterloo ON N2K 3J6
Tel.: 519-585-3118
Toll Free: 1-877-362-2005
Fax: 416-849-0643
E-mail: fmc@fmc.ca
Web Site: www.fmc.ca
ADR Institute of Ontario (ADRIO)
234 Eglinton Avenue East
Suite 405
Toronto, ON M4P 1K5
Tel.: 416-487-4447
Fax: 416-487-4429
E-mail: admin@adrontario.ca
Web Site: www.adrontario.ca