What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process of negotiation in relationships that is intended to resolve differences with the use of a neutral, specially-trained facilitator. The purpose of mediation is to level the playing field in an effort to assist the parties in resolving their issues in a constructive, and supportive manner.
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and ADR processes are typically considered as an alternative to litigation (going to court). Other forms of ADR include but are not limited to:
- Collaborative Law
- Family Group Conferencing/ Decision-Making
- Restorative Justice
Family mediation is a voluntary process. As part of the process, the mediator must have a confidential, intake appointment with each of the parties. After meeting with each client privately, the mediator then makes a decision as to whether or not the mediation will move forward to the joint mediation session. During the joint mediation session, parties may either be in the same room or different rooms.
Participants in mediation are encouraged to actively participate in the process, while the mediator helps them to focus on their needs (both individual and as a group), and interests. By being involved in finding solutions, the parties are more inclined to honour the agreement that they reach. This creates greater compliance after the fact.
The primary focus of the mediator is to manage the process in order to provide a safe environment for the parties, and a structure that leads them towards opportunities for resolution. Mediators use a variety of techniques and/or skills to open and/or improve dialogue between disputants, aiming to help the parties reach an agreement on the disputed matter. The mediator’s role also includes “reality checks,” so that the parties are able to reach a sustainable solution to the issues being discussed. Normally, all parties must view the mediator as impartial.
Paul’s mediation focus is on child-related issues (eg decision-making, schedules, parenting education, communication strategies etc). He will however facilitate financial mediations if the parties have provided full financial disclosure, and have the assistance of Independent Legal Advice.
- Longer lasting results
- Less costly than going to court
- Faster than going to court
- Less stressful than going to court
- You control the process
- Improves relationships
Open Mediation – The mediator and/ or their records may be requested in court. This process allows individuals to speak openly about the process and the content. Items included in the memorandum of understanding include what is agreed upon as well as what is not agreed upon. It will also include offers to settle.
Closed Mediation – Neither the mediator nor their records may be requested in court. This is a confidential process. Items included in the memorandum of understanding include only what is agreed upon.
Note: Only Closed Mediation is available at Paul Brown Mediation.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – The document provided to clients at the conclusion of mediation outlining the status/ outcome of the mediation. Once the MOU is provided to each client, the client is then encouraged to seek independent legal advice to ensure the contents of the agreement meet their respective rights and responsibilities. The parties may also discuss the process with their lawyer as to how to make the MOU into a legally binding agreement. The MOU is not signed at mediation and is NOT legally binding.