Family law mediation is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism that separating families can use as an option to avoid costly and protracted litigation. Working with a mediator, the couple is free to develop their own voluntary and mutually-accepted agreements. This process takes less time than pursuing orders through the court and is typically much less taxing from an emotional standpoint. Mediation provides the possibility of solutions that the participants come to with the help of a trained mediator as opposed to a court imposed order. This typically creates a greater level of buy-in from both parties.
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In British Columbia, mediation is not an adversarial by design. The lawyers who serve as mediators are obligated to remain neutral. Instead of advocating for one side in particular, they work towards an agreement that both sides can live with. A lawyer may perform a range of other services as part of the mediation process. They may need to perform research, hire accounting or child development specialists or perform other tasks that provide the participants with insight into their decisions.
Family mediation is an informal process with few requirements. Participants are free to move at their own pace and find their own way to a resolution with the mediator’s help. In most cases, the mediator will coordinate electronic and in-person meetings between them to identify and overcome disputes. If a final agreement is made,the mediator will then draft a mediated agreement that can be signed and submitted to a court. If both participants settle on an agreement, they are bound by it.
This is an entirely voluntary process, so there may not be a resolution. Either partner can choose to walk away at any point before the agreement is signed.
The lawyers of McQuarrie are available to those who require family mediation services in Surrey or the surrounding area. Our lawyers deeply respect the mediation process, and are dedicated to developing agreements that can help entire families move forward without resentment. To get started, please contact our office for an initial consultation.