When spouses separate, there are many issues to be settled. This includes the division of family property, spousal support, child support and parenting arrangements. There are several ways in which such issues can be settled, one of which is family mediation. Mediation is beneficial in many ways; it is cost-effective, it is less stressful and allows for the fostering of dialogue between the parties. However, one of the biggest reasons that mediation can be preferable to court proceedings is the process can be less harmful overall to the children involved than other, more adversarial methods.
Mediation is in the Best Interests of the Children
When the parties involved in family litigation have parenting issues to resolve, the court will always place an emphasis on which arrangement is in the best interests of the children. Mediation allows the parents to put the best interests of the children first in a holistic manner before the matter is even litigated. The parents are able to sit down together, and with the help of a mediator, work together to find the best parenting arrangement for their family. In contrast, traditional litigation can be a more confrontational process, setting the parties up as adversaries rather than fostering collaboration from the outset. Furthermore, mediation allows the parents to choose a mediator with specific expertise, for example, a mediator experienced working with families with special needs, to help them determine the best arrangement for their children.
Instead of relying on a judge to make a final, binding decision regarding the family’s parenting arrangements and schedules, mediation allows the parties themselves to come to an agreement that works for their individual circumstances. Since the process encourages cooperation between the parties, even if through their respective representatives, the children have the benefit of seeing their parents work together to resolve the matter.
Mediation Allows for Privacy
Going to court is not a private process. The vast majority of trials are open to the public and are a matter of public record. In other words, using litigation to settle family law disputes can expose a lot of private information parties may not want to be revealed. Such highly personal information often includes financial records, salaries, debts and details about family conflicts. It may involve disclosing the children’s personal details about their relationships with family and friends, their health, and any special challenges they have. While the parties in a family law proceeding can request for their initials to be used instead of their full names or that the court file be sealed, this is rarely ordered. Our legal system places a premium on publicly accessible and open courts. By choosing mediation, the parties can preserve their privacy and, more importantly, their children’s privacy.
Mediation is carried out behind closed doors and the personal information in discussion during mediation proceedings remains confidential. It is important though, to include a confidentiality clause in the terms of settlement to ensure continued privacy after the fact.
The Mediation Process is Accommodating, Flexible and Safe
One of the advantages of mediation is that it can be conducted entirely online if the parties cannot meet face-to-face. The process is also less formal than a trial, creating less stress for each party. Mediating over teleconference allows parties to remain at home, which can be helpful to put the parties more at ease. Online mediation is also quite beneficial in situations in which the parents live in different cities and meeting in person is not be practicable.
In addition to the above benefits of the flexible nature of mediation, the process has also been extremely helpful in allowing clients to safely and efficiently find solutions to their family disputes during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the process can be managed entirely online, parties are able to move ahead with resolving disputes without worrying about putting their health, or that of their loved ones, at risk.
Boulby Weinberg LLP in Toronto Provides Both Family Mediation Advocacy and Mediator Services
For parties considering their options when it comes to settling parenting arrangements or any other family matter, it is important to consider how the chosen dispute resolution process will affect the children. Mediation is an excellent option as it allows for a more efficient, cost-effective and private process that is often more beneficial for their children than litigation could be.
At Boulby Weinberg LLP, we have extensive experience representing clients in family mediation proceedings. We also offer family mediation services overseen by one of our partners, Oren Weinberg, a certified family mediator. To arrange a consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer, please complete our confidential online questionnaire, which will provide you with valuable preliminary information tailored to your situation. A representative from our firm will contact you within one business day to discuss your matter further and arrange an initial meeting. To contact our firm without completing the questionnaire, please reach out to us online, or call us at 647-494-0113 ext. 102.