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Certified Specialist in Family Law by the Law Society of Ontario
Lawyer/Mediators Can Do It All
Lawyer/mediators can do it all -- from discussion to the final agreement. Unlike mediators from other areas, such as psychology, social work, and education, lawyer/mediators can do the legal work and draft the agreement to resolve all issues. Mediators from other areas, even if they are “certified” by a family law mediation association, cannot draft a final agreement. They must send the parties to lawyers at the end of the process, with some directions called a Memorandum of Understanding. Our lawyer/mediators will complete all tasks, including the final, legally enforceable, Separation Agreement.
Our lawyers know the law and are trained in the law; some are Certified by the Law Society as Family Law Specialists (a special approval and continuing education must be maintained for the status), or have Masters degrees, including in Family Law, or in Civil Litigation (Dispute Resolution), or have been appointed by the Superior Court of Ontario as Dispute Resolution Officers (conducting Case Conferences for parties and their lawyers in the family law process).
Your situation may require the most qualified person. Lawyer/mediators are the only mediators that can prepare the court documents for divorce or attend in court for court orders. In mediation, you should have a mediator that knows what the courts and law would do as part of your considerations. The time and cost is reduced when you have a lawyer/mediator that can do it all.
Rather than the court-based separation and divorce process, married couples or couples living common-law can use Family Mediation to help settle issues such as:
Custody of the child or children
Access to the child or children, including holiday and summer vacation schedules
Amount of child support and payment schedule, including special/extraordinary expenses
Amount of spousal support and payment schedule
Division of net family property, how to divide the matrimonial home
Estate Mediation can help you settle issues such as:
Challenges to a Will; allegations of undue influence
Claims of support from siblings, adult children, or ex-spouses
Disputes over specific assets like the family cottage or investment property
Allegations of fraudulent beneficiary designations
Disputes over personal effects, such as art, jewelry, valuable collections, or sentimental objects
Civil Mediation can help you settle non-violent, non-criminal cases such as:
Your business partner broke your partnership agreement; a supplier broke an agreement or contract
You have been laid off and your company has not paid you adequate severance or won't pay your vacation pay
Your landlord refuses to make necessary repairs to your rental unit
Your neighbour has put a fence too far on your property line, or has too much junk in the laneway
Consideration Compassion Compromise™
The 3 most important things for a successful mediation are: consideration, compassion, and compromise. Compromise is the most important.
There have been hundreds of books and articles written about negotiation over the years. Don't stick to a "position," but rather look at the underlying issues, or "interests." All this is true.
Especially in Family Mediation, consideration, compassion, and compromise are critical for two reasons: 1) for the best interests of your child or children and 2) for moving forward with the rest of your life.
It is expensive and can take years for a Judge to tell you how to settle your case; an experienced lawyer-mediator can help you reach an amicable agreement, faster.
What is Mediation?
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation is a voluntary process to resolve legal disputes, instead of or before they go to court. In fact, most legal disputes are solved through mediation.
Disputing parties jointly hire a mediator, typically a lawyer trained in specific mediation techniques, who discusses the interests and issues of both sides and presents them with options for resolution. The objective of mediation is to reach an agreement, an amicable resolution that is acceptable to both sides.
All of our mediators are lawyers, who know the Law and what is the minimum required by Law to reach agreement. Mediators encourage both sides to be honest, open, frank, and considerate of each other.
Mediators cost only half as much as a lawyer because each party pays half the cost. Effectively, the disputing parties are sharing the costs of a lawyer-mediator.
You can have your own lawyer present during a mediation, or not. Afterward, you may want to have your own lawyer review the agreement that is reached through mediation, to obtain independent legal advice. It's up to you.
With mediation, you are in charge of the process. In a courtroom, the Judge is in charge of the process and the outcome. The Judge will impose a decision on you.
Costs less than legal procedings.
Faster than going to court.
You decide the agreement (many people are not happy with the decision imposed on them by a Judge or jury).
Your dispute remains private and confidential.
As lawyer-mediators, we can create a final agreement that once signed, is enforceable.