What Is Mediation?

Mediation is a method of resolving family law disputes through assisted negotiations conducted by a neutral mediator. A more flexible process than the traditional court process, mediation generally requires in-person meetings between both sides and the mediator, who acts as facilitator and moderator of the conversations. Mediation can be used to resolve a wide variety of family law concerns, from cohabitation and prenuptial agreements to separation and divorce agreements. It is very suitable for disputes about child-related matters and property division.

Crafting Agreements That Satisfy Your Family's Needs

Westside Family Law recognizes that every family's issues require unique resolutions. With mediation, the possibilities are endless in terms of what you can accomplish. Our lawyers will make sure you are well-informed about your options so that you and your partner can come to a mutually acceptable agreement in a timely fashion.

Our firm includes lawyers who are certified family law mediators, meaning they can also serve as neutrals in a mediation process. Learn more about our approach to mediation and why certification is important.

Why Mediate?

Mediation has several advantages, though its success will always depend on the couple involved. For example, it is normal for one person to be ready to negotiate while the other is processing the emotional and practical implications of the divorce or separation. This can lead to initial distrust of the process, but statistically, mediation often nets results more quickly and less expensively than litigation.

The following are three of the most common reasons people choose family law mediation:

Mediation Is Private

The documents and information discussed during mediation are generally confidential and not entered into the public record. During a trial, records such as court orders and affidavits can become public documents accessible by private (e.g., a newspaper reporter or historian) and public entities such as the Canada Revenue Agency and law enforcement agencies. Therefore, mediation is ideal for those who want to keep their family affairs private and avoid publicity.

Mediation Is Flexible

Mediation also allows families to address nonlegal issues that would not necessarily be covered in the litigation process. In a courtroom setting, each side presents his or her case, and the judge makes decisions about custody, support and the division of property based on the law and the evidence presented. This necessarily limits his or her viewpoint to the bare facts, so you are essentially leaving key decisions about your future in the hands of an independent individual.

You know best what your family needs. Mediation allows you to explore many options for crafting a unique solution. It also means that you have a direct say on what the final agreement looks like.

Mediation Can Be More Efficient

Mediation is typically less expensive and quicker than litigation, though mediation is not a cheap alternative to litigation, as litigation may impose a binding resolution on the parties. With mediation, the parties achieve a resolution only by consent and cannot have a decision imposed on them.

Your costs will vary depending on the complexity of your case, the time needed to reach a decision and each person's willingness to move forward with the process.

That said, couples typically split the cost of mediation, whereas no one typically shares litigation costs willingly. Moreover, you don't need to wait for a specific court date to get started. Once you have both agreed to mediation and signed the necessary paperwork, you can start the process right away.

Helping You Make Smart Choices

Mediation is not well-suited to every dispute. Much will depend on your particular circumstances. This is why we get to know you and the particulars of your situation during our initial meeting — before we move forward. We seek to ensure that the path you take is the one that offers you the brightest future.

If you wish to learn more about mediation, we invite you to peruse the topics to the left or to contact us directly at 604-800-8853. Our office is located in the South Granville neighbourhood of Vancouver.