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What is mediation?
It is a situation where the people, called parties, engage a professional person (in this case, a comprehensive lawyer/mediator) to meet with each individually, meet with them together, discuss their concerns, try to work out a resolution of any concerns, and put this in writing so that it can be signed by the parties.
Who hires the mediator?
The usual situation is that both hire the mediator, and both pay half of the cost, but in some circumstances, the entire cost is paid by one person.
Where does the mediation occur?
When the mediation is with the two parties only, the mediation sessions take place at the boardroom at DeRusha Law Firm. If there are counsel involved, the mediation may take place at the office of either counsel.
What information has to be provided prior to the mediation?
We need to know the names of the parties, and a little bit of background information as to what items of property or income the parties have so that we can assess the approach and answer more detailed questions. You can review our intake form to see what information we will be asking.
How much does it cost in total?
The total cost is usually in the range of $3,000 to $6,000. The lower figure is if there are fewer issues or concerns, and the process moved as quickly as possible. The higher figure is more likely where there are more concerns and additional processes need to be implemented or discussed.
How long does it take from the beginning to the end?
Mediation can be very quick, and usually takes 2 or 3 meetings, and may be completed within three or four weeks. Sometimes it can be faster, however if additional information is to be obtained from other sources, it could take longer.
Who is in the room besides the mediator and the parties?
Either party may bring a lawyer, but they do not need do so. Either party may also request that another person, or other family member, be present. Most mediations involve only the parties and the mediator.
How do we confirm that we have reached an agreement?
The mediator, in a balanced and fair way, will take the discussions, and if the parties have reached an agreement, put those into a draft agreement, which is made available to each for review, and for each to consider obtaining independent legal advice, if they wish to do so. If both sign the agreement and exchange it, then the reasonable expectation would be that this is a binding, legally enforceable agreement.
Does the mediator tell the other side everything that I say in the meetings where I am alone with the mediator?
No. The mediator is to have confidential discussions with each side, including about safety, security, and about the process, to make sure that each party is attending in a voluntary way, and is not being forced or pressured by the other side.
How does the process get started?
A potential mediator will have an introductory discussion with one side. They engage Family Mediation Works by signing a one page document, and paying the initial deposit (usually $500). We obtain information about the other party, and we will contact the other party, sending background information to them, and inviting them to participate in the mediation process. This is usually done by the Mediation Coordinator. In some situations, both parties may attend at the same time and get the introductory explanation from the proposed mediator together.
Does Family Mediation Works guarantee an agreement?
No agreement is guaranteed, but if both sides attend and go through the process applying principles of consideration, compassion and compromise, there is a very high expectation that the parties will reach an agreement. Our experience is that this is a little under 100% of the time, but over 90% of the time. Even if a full agreement is not reached, there may be partial or temporary agreements.