My belief that issues which arise from a separation should be settled through negotiation, not litigation, led me to explore the world of Mediation.
Mediation is assisted negotiation. You and your partner can make the decisions about your separation and more importantly, your children’s future, in a conversation that I will help you have. You design the mediation process by telling me what issues you want discussed. Through as many meetings as it may take, given the disagreement on those issues, we will attempt to come to an Agreement that will save you, your partner and your children the “experience” of going to Court.
How exactly does it work? Initially, I will meet with you and your partner separately. At this meeting you will each be able to express freely what your goals are moving forward. That meeting will be confidential; I will not discuss with your partner what you have told me, nor will I tell you what your partner said in our meeting. What you both tell me will assist me in helping you to come to an Agreement on the issues that both of you want resolved.
The private meetings are followed by the first of what could be a number of sessions with your partner and yourself. What is said can either be “off the record”, or “on the record”. You and your partner decide whether you want the mediation to be “closed” or “open”. If mediation is “open”, then what you have said can be used if Agreement can’t be reached on certain issues and those issues have to be litigated. The decision as to whether or not the mediation should be “open” is one that you should make in consultation with your solicitor.
After reading to this point you probably have come to the conclusion that you do not have to retain a solicitor, as you are retaining a solicitor to be your mediator. As the mediator, I cannot provide you or your partner with legal advice; I can only provide you with legal information. There is a difference; advice is what is in your best interest (as opposed to your partner’s). Information is what, in my experience, would probably happen in your situation if the matter was to go before a Judge.
I strongly recommend that you retain a solicitor on a “limited retainer basis” at the outset of the mediation process. That way, you can seek advice as you feel you need it. The retainer is “limited” in that you are not asking your solicitor to negotiate on your behalf, or for that matter, prepare a Separation Agreement that reflects what you have been able to resolve with your partner through mediation.
As a solicitor who has practiced in the area of family law for over 20 years, I can take what you and your partner agree to through mediation and prepare a Separation Agreement. Mediators who are not lawyers do not have the same experience with legally binding Separation Agreements, and usually prepare a Memorandum of Understanding which a lawyer converts into a Separation Agreement. Mediating with me can save you money; if I prepare a Separation Agreement on behalf of you and your partner, it will probably cost less than what it would cost to have it prepared by a solicitor who is not privy to how you reached your agreement.
As I previously mentioned, it could take several meetings to resolve all the issues arising from your separation. The cost of mediation is based on the time that I spend on your file. I will be charging you and your partner my hourly rate as a mediator. (Feel free to call me to find out what that rate is at the present time.) I can assure you that my hourly rate will be competitive and that you and your partner will probably spend one-half of what you would have spent, had you retained separate solicitors to negotiate (or litigate) on your behalf.
Negotiating a resolution through solicitors has its place. However, if you and your partner have been able to work together to resolve issues in the past, you may be able to resolve more of them now, with my assistance.
Call me with any questions, or to discuss whether or not mediation is right for you.
905-845-0767 x 222