Do you think that you and your spouse could resolve the issues between the two of you if you had the help of a knowledgeable and neutral third party? If so, mediation may be right for you.
You can hire a mediator to help you resolve all issues resulting from the breakdown of your relationship. During mediation, you and your spouse can each tell the mediator how you would like to resolve each issue in your matter and explain why you think your settlement plan is best for your family. The mediator can then help you and your spouse decide whose plan is best, or help you generate further options that may work better for both of you.
Mediators can help you and your ex reach a resolution of the issues in your matter, but they cannot force you to agree to anything, nor can they impose a resolution upon you. Instead, they can help you understand what is reasonable and may even give you an idea of what to expect if a judge were to decide the matter for you. Having a neutral, third party give his/her opinion can help you settle some, or all, of the issues in your case. There are no guarantees that mediation will be successful, but it often is.
Mediation Can Be Open Or Closed.
Open mediation means that if mediation is unsuccessful, you and your spouse can use any information gained during the mediation process in Court.
Closed mediation means that whatever you discuss during mediation cannot be raised in Court. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks. You should discuss these options with your mediator, and a lawyer, before you decide which option is best for you.
It is important to remember that your mediator is not your lawyer. Although mediators are often lawyers, they do not represent you or your spouse. Instead, they try to help you and your spouse reach an agreement. They do not give you or you ex any legal advice.
What Happens If Your Mediation Is Successful?
If mediation is successful, it will likely end in a document called a Memorandum of Understanding, which should detail any agreements discussed during mediation. However, a Memorandum of Understanding is not an enforceable contract and is not the same as a Separation Agreement. Your Memorandum of Understanding will likely state right on it that you and your ex should get Independent Legal Advice (meaning that you should each get your own lawyer to review it) before you sign any agreements based on its terms.
What To Look For When Hiring A Mediator
If you plan to hire a mediator, it is important that you choose a mediator who has experience resolving Family Law issues and has in-depth knowledge of all aspects of Family Law that may apply to your case. It is also important that you hire a lawyer to represent you during mediation to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the mediation process. Having a lawyer represent you during mediation can help keep mediation focused on the relevant legal issues and help ensure that the Memorandum of Understanding that you reach is in your best interests.
If you are looking to go through a mediation and need the assistance of a family lawyer, please contact us at 905-237-5548.