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Mediation vs. divorce in family law

Divorces are as unique from one another as the spouses they involve, and as a result, no two divorces can be handled exactly the same way. For some British Columbia residents, the prospect of mediation is a preferable family law solution, as it can be less expensive and adversarial than a traditional court-based divorce. But for some people, a relationship may simply be too contentious for mediation to be a viable option. When determining best steps for a divorce, it is important for both parties to have an honest accounting of which option will work best for them. 

From the start, mediation requires a certain base level of understanding between the two spouses. Ultimately, it requires both parties to be willing to hear the other's side and work cooperatively to come to decisions that are best for both individuals. Of course, in some cases, there is simply too much "bad blood" on one or both sides for this to be a viable solution. 

Mediation also tends to be more time consuming than a traditional court-based divorce. For those who seek a swift end to a relationship, particularly if the relationship was violent or predicated by adultery, for example, mediation may not be the best option. As a general rule, the more conflict that was present in a marriage, the less likely mediation is to work for both parties -- and both parties must want it to work. 

Family law in Canada, including here in British Columbia, attempts to provide multiple options for divorcing couples. Seeking out the support of individual divorce attorneys for each spouse can be a good first step in determining which option is best for a given couple. Regardless the method chosen, the advice of an attorney can be invaluable throughout the process. 

Source:, "8 Signs You Should Skip Mediation and Head Straight for the Divorce Lawyer", Leigh Anderson, Aug. 11, 2017

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