Top 5 Reasons to Mediate Your Family Law Dispute

Family Lawyer, Mediation | October 21, 2020

When couples separate, there are a number of issues which require attention, including division of property, division of debt, guardianship, parenting time, child support, and spousal support. In a recent article, we wrote about the pros and cons of various dispute resolution methods which are available for family law matters, ranging from one-on-one negotiation to litigation.

Learn all about what mediation is.

In this article, we will discuss family law mediation and the reasons it is becoming an increasingly popular form of alternative dispute resolution. Our top 5 reasons to mediate your family law dispute are:

1. Control

In mediation, parties work with an unbiased third-party to assist them in reaching a solution. Mediation is a collaborative opportunity for mutual understanding and decision making. The mediator’s role is to assist you, not solve the problem for you. Research tells us that self-made solutions last longer and are more likely to be honoured than solutions imposed by a court. The mediator assists by helping parties communicate effectively, framing the legal issues, offering legal information but not advice, and explaining the legal implications of potential outcomes.

What types of disputes can be resolved by mediation?

2. Privacy

Mediation is a confidential alternative to litigation. Family law matters which move through the court system create public records which results in a loss of privacy for many families. All communications made in mediation are private, without prejudice and will be kept confidential. If the mediation fails, neither party is allowed to subpoena or otherwise request information from the mediator who assisted the parties in a future legal proceeding.

How can mediation resolve inheritance disputes?

3. Cost

Mediation is almost always significantly less expensive than going to court. The average cost of a trial (up to five days) is $27,195.[1] This figure does not include the many proceedings and appearances that are required before reaching the trial stage. The average cost of a family mediation is $2700, split between both parties.[2]

4. Efficiency

From the time a Notice of Family Claim is filed in court to the time the parties go to trial, many years may have passed. Mediators can be available via video conference or in person to assist upon separation and often resolve matters in months rather than years.

Learn about the four alternatives for resolving family matters during COVID-19.

5. Relationship

In addition to the financial toll of litigation, there is a significant emotional toll.  In a litigation setting, your lawyer acts as your advocate to emphasize the best parts of your case and the worst parts of your former spouse’s case. This may seem appealing, but only until the opposing party puts their case before the court. Litigation is often hostile, stressful, and time consuming. Preserving and improving family relationships while reaching mutually-beneficial solutions is at the heart of mediation.

If you are interested in family law mediation, please contact Emily Anderson, who is a Family Law Dispute Resolution Professional accredited by the Law Society of BC.

[1] 2020 Canadian Lawyer Legal Fees Survey

[2] MediateBC 2016 Survey of Rostered Mediators

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