A mediator is an independent, specially trained facilitator. He or she monitors the communication between parties so that all conversation is directed towards solutions to the issues. Mediation can occur just between parties, or with lawyers present. Everything said during mediation is confidential and cannot be used in Court. This encourages parties to make offers to settle and maximizes the chances of success. Parties can, by consent, mediate single issues, or any number of outstanding matters. The mediator will never impose a solution, but will assist the clients in attempting to create their own solution. If an "agreement in principle" is reached, the clients may then ask their own lawyers to advise them concerning the legal impact of the proposed solution, and finally, to prepare appropriate documents to formalize the agreement.
The lawyers at Foster LLP will propose mediation as one manner in which to resolve family law disputes. Depending on the parties circumstances, they may qualify for free mediation. We recommend that spouses contemplating mediation have a consultation with a lawyer prior to setting up mediation. We recommend this for the following reasons:
- Mediation is not always appropriate. A lawyer will assist you to assess whether your case is suited for mediation.
- To remain neutral, a mediator does not usually explain the law and will never give you an opinion about your legal rights. When parties do not know their rights during mediation, a mediator may recommend that parties meet with lawyers before continuing mediation. It saves time and the emotional energy involved in mediation if both parties are prepared with knowledge about their legal rights prior to mediating.
- You are negotiating your own settlement, with the mediator’s assistance. The issues are of tremendous importance to your life and the lives of your children. In order to obtain the best mediated result, the advice of a professional, who has experience working in this area, will help you to see both sides of the issues involved and prepare you for the type of result which you may reasonably expect.
Most of the lawyers at Foster LLP are trained mediators. In appropriate cases we refer our clients to mediation to resolve matrimonial disputes quickly, fairly, and at a minimum of cost to our clients. We will review the law with our clients and prepare them for mediation.
You and your spouse may retain one of the lawyers at Foster LLP to mediate your dispute. We recommend you consult with a lawyer first, so you know your rights before proceeding.