Unlike taking matters to court, mediation is a voluntary and consensual process that puts the parties in control of the outcome. It is much less expensive, less distressing and takes significantly less time. It is also more likely to preserve or improve relationships between the parties – something that can be difficult and costly in litigation.
Family mediation encourages a discussion of the issues facing both the present and the future, and provides an opportunity to find solutions that are in everyone’s best interests. Hostile feelings are often reduced, and the parties can maintain a co-parenting relationship in the future, avoiding conflict wherever possible.
In the course of a mediation, the mediator will ask you for any documentation or information relevant to your situation and will help you understand where each other’s perspective lies. In addition to working with you and the other party during joint sessions, some mediators use separate meetings to get a more well-rounded view of a case, and may also schedule meetings with children (where appropriate).
The mediator will help both of you think through your options, consider their pros and cons, and explore ways of finding mutually acceptable proposals. At the end of the mediation session, the mediator will explain to you how any proposals you have agreed upon can be converted into a legally binding agreement and/or court order. He/she will also provide you with advice about legal costs, and suggest any other sources of advice that you might like to seek.