Mediators role during a divorce?
Mediation is a form of dispute resolution wherein the parties voluntarily agree to come together with a neutral third party to resolve their disputes. The mediator assists parties by facilitating the mediation process, ensuring discussions stay on topic and constructive and assisting with power imbalances. Parties are able to attend mediation on their own, or with their legal counsel. Often, parties opt to attend with legal counsel to ensure they have legal advice while negotiating. This is because mediators must remain neutral and cannot offer legal advice to either party. Read on to learn more about the mediation process from our team of Calgary family law lawyers.
Calgary Family Law Lawyers Role in the Mediation Process
If you opt to attend mediation with your lawyer, your lawyer will have a specific role. Primarily, your family law lawyer’s role will be to support you and answer any legal questions you may have while weighing your settlement options. They can also provide a cost-benefit analysis into potential outcomes of your matter if you choose to end mediation and pursue resolution through litigation. However, your lawyer is not there to argue your position or advocate on your behalf. In fact, for the most part, your lawyer will remain in the background and speak primarily with you and not the mediator or the other party. If you and the other party do reach a resolution, your lawyer can assist in preparing a written agreement or court order.
The Clients Role in the Mediation Process
As a party to the mediation, your role is to be open and honest, to abide by the ground rules established by the mediator so that you communicate effectively. You will need to try to understand the other party’s point of view; however, you do not need to agree with that perspective. You will need to speak up and be an active participant in the mediation process and work towards a resolution of the issues. Please be prepared for the mediation to be a process with a lot of the work being done up front without jumping to potential solutions. Mediation is likely to be more successful if you are able to communicate your interests, needs, wants, concerns and fears instead of focusing on your position on any one issue.
How To Find Family Law Firms in Calgary with Mediation Experience
When it comes to selecting Calgary family law lawyers, it is a good idea to do some research on their resolution styles and experience with alternative dispute resolutions. In March of 2021, the Divorce Act underwent some major changes. One of these changes required that Calgary family law lawyers encourage clients to attend an alternative dispute resolution such as mediation prior to proceeding through the formal court process. As such, most family law firms in Calgary do have experience with the mediation process. However, lawyers all have unique styles and their own opinions about mediation. At Jones Divorce and Family Law, many of our lawyers are also mediators as we believe strongly in the mediation process and the advantages such as efficiency, cost, privacy and control of the result.