Durham Mediation Centre
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Video: Understanding Family Mediation...Please note video created in the United Kingdom and the last three slides regarding legal aid do not apply to Ontario
Family Mediation Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Family Mediation
Family Mediation is a confidential, voluntary, consensual process in which a mediator, who is an impartial third person, assists the participants to discuss and resolve their issues in mediation. The Mediator provides a written report at the conclusion of the mediation process. The report reflects the terms of the mediated agreement however it is not a legal binding document and participants are strongly encouraged to seek independent legal advice prior to signing any agreement mediated or otherwise.
2. What are the benefits of Family Mediation?
- The ability to resolve issues in a way that suits the participants best and enables them to directly effect the outcome
- An opportunity to speak directly to the other person about issues of concern in a neutral and safe environment.
- Where children are involved, the focus is kept on the best interests of the children
- It may reduce future conflict by improving parties' communication and problem solving skills
- Much less expensive than court processes
- parenting arrangements (custody and access)
- communication and information sharing related to the children
- financial support of children (child support)
- special expenses for children (section 7 expenses)
- financial support of a spouse (spousal support)
- equalization and division of property (dividing all the assets and debts)
- mobility (moving with a child)
- grandparents access
- changes to an existing agreement, court order or separation agreement
- any other issue(s) you wish to discuss and resolve
4. How long does Family Mediation take?
- number and type of issues to be mediated
- amount of conflict among the participants
- degree of communication and cooperation among participants
5. What is the Mediators role?
- To provide a safe and structured process and mange the process
- The Mediator is a impartial facilitator whose role is to help participants communicate and negotiate in an attempt to resolve the issues
- The Mediator does not take sides or make decisions for the participants
- The Mediator cannot give legal advice
- The Mediator will write a report once the mediation discussions are finished. The report will contain the decisions of the participants
6. Do we need lawyers if we are mediating?
- The Mediator does not take the place of a lawyer. Each participant is encouraged to obtain independent legal advice before and throughout the mediation process.
It is very important for each person participating in the mediation to know and understand their legal rights and obligations and how the law affects those issues including any decision that the person makes.
Each participant should review the final mediated agreement (report) with his or her lawyer's prior to signing any agreement.