We’ve answered frequently asked questions to help you decide if family mediation is right for you and your family.
Mediation is a process led by a highly qualified, experienced and impartial professional who will help you and your ex-spouse come to an agreement together. Our team of mediators also offers a unique mediation model called co-mediation which is designed to save you time and money by including two mediators with different professional backgrounds at no extra cost. Our service combines our different but complementary professional backgrounds but still provides you with a supportive, efficient and effective process.
Our team has diverse backgrounds and experience in mental health and family law. We are all Certified Mediators. We will work with you individually or as a team, and will attend all sessions, review your documents, provide guidance, and help generate options for the best-possible outcome for your family. And by the way, the cost of two mediators is no more than the cost for a lone mediator. Know your options! Contact us for free to get all the information by phone or email.Watch the video below to learn more about mediation, how it works, and its benefits:
The shortest answer is that it’s less expensive, more efficient and less antagonistic than the court system. But maybe more importantly, mediation keeps you focused on positive outcomes for the longer term, especially where your children are concerned.
We use our complementary expertise in family law and psychology to help you divide assets, debts, and work out agreements and future plans. We will also help you plan and understand your new roles as parents, and can integrate other experts, such as child consultants, financial specialists, appraisers and valuators.
We work together to ensure that both of you get constant and effective guidance. As a team, we are committed to helping you and your ex bring peace to your family.Watch the video below to listen to us discuss the pros and cons of mediation versus arbitration.
If you're concerned about how your matrimonial home and assets will be split, mediation ultimately gives you more control. Watch the video below to hear us discuss how the matrimonial home and other assets are handled in mediation versus litigation:
Other mediators work as individuals, and that means they offer a single perspective. In most of our mediations, we work as a team, and with our different kinds of expertise, we facilitate agreements more quickly and positively.
All mediators have years of experience in key areas such as emotional/mental health support, family law and financials. We are all Certified Mediators, and together, we bring deep knowledge of the systems that govern and support family structures.
In co-mediation, the model we use almost exclusively, you benefit from the expertise of two family mediators, and you’ll save time and money because the two of us share the role of getting you and your former spouse through the process.
We have all experienced separation and divorce and the associated changes in family dynamics. We’ve been where you are so we understand what you’re going through.
We have already helped hundreds of families and we are passionate about our work. We provide a judgement free zone and we have seen and heard it all. Your ex will not fool us and neither will you! :) Nothing makes us happier than to get you through the process quickly so you can start the next chapter of your life. Contact us for free to get all the information by phone or email.
Where children are involved, relationships don’t end – they merely change. We provide a safe and cooperative environment, and encourage open and honest discussion as you work out your terms. As mediators, we are impartial, but we will work with you to identify issues, explore underlying interests, and help you to develop options and balance power.
Our role is to guide you as you develop positive, goal-oriented plans and conflict-resolution skills. These are important during our joint sessions, but also after you’ve settled your agreement, to help you navigate your new life and new family structure with dignity, confidence and effectiveness.
Each party describes the matter from his or her own point of view and offers possible solutions. The mediators help the parties focus on the issues causing the problem and then help them find a workable and mutually satisfying resolution.
If one party is a stronger negotiator, mediation helps balance the power. When couples express hurt, fear or anger, co-mediators talk about the needs behind the feelings. They reframe the issue to help the couple focus on a mutually acceptable solution. Mediation supports the healing process; helps you focus on your future; eliminates aggressive bargaining and legal games; prioritizes the well-being of the children; addresses the parties’ needs and interests not just their positions and gives you a voice in the process.
Before we meet with you together we meet with each of you individually for an intake session. This is an opportunity for us to get to know you both individually, to learn what your unique concerns are and to uncover any underlying issues that may present challenges in the mediation.
The number of hours or sessions in a mediation will be unique for every situation. It may be a simple 2 hour session to review the issues that you have agreed upon. It may be several sessions to resolve more complex and/or emotionally charged issues. It always depends on the willingness of the parties to settle, including their cooperation with one another and of course the issues involved. This said, the more issues you agree on, the quicker the process!
After you and your ex have agreed on all the issues, we have reviewed our documents and prepared your separation agreement we will meet with you again, together, to review the separation agreement.
Mediation (including intake, mediation and review of separation agreement) could take as little as 10 hours or as many as 35 hours. You can expect an average mediation to take anywhere between 15 and 25 hours.
The average mediation process, without any complex and/or emotionally charged issues, costs $2,500 to $6,000 split between the couple. But court-based divorces can average $24,000 to $90,000 or more per couple, or $12,000 to more than $45,000 per party based on a Law Commission of Ontario report.
Our innovative co-mediation model helps our clients work smarter and save money. Visit our fees page for an estimate of what your mediation might cost.
Family court-based divorces cost on average between $24,000 to $90,000 or more per couple ($12,000 to $45,000 each ) and last a minimum of 22 months based on a Law Commission of Ontario report.
Ask yourself a simple question. Who stands to benefit the most if a divorce goes to court instead of mediation?
For most of your meetings, all four of us ( you and your partner and two of our mediators) will be together, either in person or via a video call. However, your first session will be done separately so that we can get a sense of your individual needs and perspectives.
We have three offices in the GTA, but can use video-calling apps like Skype and Zoom, and are also open to meeting in public locations such as coffee shops.
Mediation can be entered into at any stage – even if your case is already in court. Many separating couples choose mediation as a first step, while others choose it as result of their dissatisfaction and unaffordability with litigation and the adversarial process.
A separation agreement is, in fact, a contract between the partners that embodies the terms and provisions of what they have agreed to. Once signed, it becomes a legally binding document just like any other contract one may enter into in this world. We recommend that each party should review the final agreement with his or her lawyer before signing.
A parenting plan is an agreement that the two of you develop together. It incorporates details about how much time each of you will spend with the kids, how you’ll split the holidays, travel arrangements, child support, extra-curricular expenses, etc., and anything you both feel is important to include.
We can help you develop a parenting plan, and provide information for things to cover off, and ways to share and communicate around parenting.
It is always our goal to help you reach an amicable, balanced arrangement that the two of you and your children can work with.
If there are issues of power imbalance or domestic abuse, your case could still be mediated. We always screen partners first, to ensure that both can work effectively and safely in a mediation.
If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to check with your lawyer or one of us about whether or not your issues can be mediated.
Mediation is a voluntary process. It is not mandated by law and therefore if a party refuses to enter into mediation, you will have no choice but to proceed to court. Having said this, please bear in mind that many parties, after entering the court system, quickly recognize the damage that it may produce, especially long-term for the children. At that point, coming to mediation is still an option!
No. Couples counselling focuses on solutions to preserve the romantic or marital relationship. Mediation focuses on creating suitable arrangements for the entire family after separation.
There is a provision within the process for what is called a “caucus.” This is where you can ask the mediator to step out with you in privacy and in a confidential manner raise issues with him/her.
One of the most challenging aspects in family law surrounds the whole issue of financial disclosure. If the issues you face are not financial, then there is no problem. However, if they are, you will be faced with a very difficult task of resolving any financial matters.
If your matter includes financial issues, a separation agreement can certainly be entered into, but the law provides that in order for an agreement to be valid and not subject to being set aside in future, there must be full and frank disclosure provided by both parties.
We strongly recommend it.
It is important for you to have independent legal advice throughout the process, and before you sign your separation agreement. Your lawyer should ensure that you are clear on your rights and obligations, and how the law will affect your issues. However, by using co-mediation, the amount that the two of you will spend on your lawyers, plus the cost of co-mediation, will be a fraction of what it would cost to use a court-based process.
Note that, although Eva and Robert are lawyers, they will not provide either of you with individual legal advice.
Most mediations are “closed”, or described as “without prejudice” or simply, “confidential”. That means that everything you say (with certain limited exceptions) can’t be used by you, your ex or the mediators in court, though the terms of any final, binding settlement you reach can be disclosed.
We always start by introducing a mediation agreement between you and your ex and our firm, so that everyone understands the ground rules and expectations.
To better understand what going through divorce litigation can be like, we recommend you watch the following video where a former divorce litigant offers his perspective of the experience, as well as advice.
To make sure you hire the right mediator for you, we recommend you watch the following videos where we explain how to hire a mediator! If you live in Ontario, you can also contact us for a free consultation.
In this second video, we explain some key questions you should ask potential mediators before making your choice:
Contact us today for a free phone consultation, or fill out our intake form.