(The following content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to create a lawyer/client relationship between the author and the reader)

There are better alternatives to litigation  (court action) especially in the area of Divorce/Family Law.

Mediation is one such alternative.  Mediation requires both parties to retain a Mediator to assist them in negotiating fair agreements and to resolve their disputes.  The mediation is conducted by a Mediator.   There are no qualifications and no restrictions currently on who can be a mediator.  Therefore, care should be taken in your selection of a Mediator.  You will want to assure yourself that the Mediator has taken extensive mediation training and has the proper expertise.  There are mediators who are also family lawyers or social workers.  Be aware however that the mediator cannot provide legal advice.  The Mediator will ordinarily provide a report setting out the broad general terms agreed upon by the parties and each party will then need to retain his/her own lawyer to have the terms incorporated into a separation agreement.

One of the advantages of mediation is that you and your spouse are expressing your concerns to one individual (the Mediator) and you are sharing the costs of that one person.  Typically the Mediator’s rate is less than that of a lawyer.  If the Mediator is properly trained, the Mediator will diffuse the animosity between you by actively listening to both of you, questioning and speaking without judgment and blame, re-framing comments and also by keeping both of you on track to resolving the issues.  The ideal Mediator is objective and takes no sides.

The Mediation can be closed or open.  In closed mediation, the Mediator will not disclose any information shared in the process and if mediation fails, none of the information can be used in a court process.  In open mediation, the mediator may share information