Family Mediation

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process in which the parties agree to appoint a neutral third party (the Mediator) to assist them in attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. Unlike the Court process, the neutral third party does not make decisions, control over the final resolution rests with the parties. However, the Mediator is there to skillfully guide each party to a better understanding of the strengths and weakness of their case and of the other party’s case and to reach resolutions that allow the family to move forward.

Mediation is appealing to many people as it is confidential process that takes place outside of Court, although many times parties will come to mediation after already starting the Court process.

At the end of mediation, if agreement on all or some of the issues is reached, the Mediator will provide the parties with a Memorandum of Understanding which summarizes the points of Agreement. The Mediator is not the lawyer for either party and cannot provide legal advice to one or both of the parties. The parties will still require independent legal advice and will need to ensure that their agreements are adapted into a valid and binding separation agreement.

Not all Mediators are created equal

It is important to choose a Mediator who is skilled and experienced. Our Partner, Melissa Belliveau, has obtained her Certificate in Family Mediation from York University and is working towards accreditation through the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. She is an experienced Mediator who has a track record of successfully negotiating resolutions and has received positive feedback from those who have worked with her about her ability to understand each party’s goals and interests and translate this to the other party in a way that maximizes a win-win outcome.