The Mediation Process

Westside Family Law will help you anticipate potential concerns in mediation and walk you through each step in the process.

Selecting A Mediator

Our firm includes lawyers who are certified family mediators, meaning they have completed additional training on mediating family disputes in particular. Keep in mind that if we act as your mediator, we must remain neutral and cannot act as your private counsel during the mediation process.

Preparing For Mediation

Once you have chosen a mediator and signed all the appropriate paperwork, each person will meet separately with the mediator. What you say in this meeting may be shared with the other side at the mediator's discretion, if he or she deems it relevant and useful in reaching a fair settlement.

This first meeting sets the tone for the joint mediation sessions to follow.

Mediating Your Disagreements

Your joint mediation sessions will require intense focus; they are often emotionally and mentally exhausting for everyone at the table. For this reason, sessions are usually scheduled for two to three hours at a time. If there are only a few issues to mediate or if the matter is critically urgent, then you may agree to hold the entire mediation in one or two long sessions lasting several hours.

In these discussions, the mediator's role is to even out power imbalances by ensuring that each person is heard and listens carefully to the other side. He or she will also clear away misunderstandings and seek to find common ground between both sides. Easily resolved issues should be discussed first so that both sides feel confident when proceeding to the harder issues.

Mediation sessions focus on "needs" and mutual "interests," not hardened positions. The mediator will concentrate on facilitating balanced, respectful and safe communication between both sides to increase your chances of reaching a fair settlement.

Finalizing Your Agreement

Usually, your mediator will help document your resolutions in a written agreement. You may then file this agreement with the Court or government office for enforcement purposes. In some cases, however, you may need independent legal advice about the agreed terms, and if so, a lawyer may draft your final agreement.

Let's Get Started

Whether you seek a neutral mediator for your family dispute or you simply want more advice on the family mediation process, we're ready to help you. Schedule a free initial consultation at our Vancouver law office today by calling 604-800-8853 or by filling out our online contact form to get started.