In the first blog in our series on the benefits of mediation, we focused on how mediation can be a much better option than litigation for families with children. In our second installment, we will focus on how mediation can be a healthier process for the participants with respect to their emotional and mental wellbeing.
Family law disputes following a separation are never easy. Issues to be resolved in family matters are highly personal and emotionally charged, and conflicts can develop quickly. If the parties cannot find a way to resolve these issues on their own, then the matter often proceeds to court and possibly to trial. While it is an effective way to have a dispute resolved, traditional litigation can also take a toll on an individual’s mental health. Litigation is typically more costly and takes much longer than alternative methods of dispute resolution to complete. Parties are forced to wait for availabilities in the court’s schedule, and there are many more formal steps in the process, which means that some cases can drag on for years before they are resolved. For many, litigation can be an emotionally draining exercise.
Thankfully, there are other options available to parties who would like to avoid court altogether. Alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, give parties more control of the situation and reduce the impact on both their finances and, more importantly, their emotional well-being. There are numerous reasons why mediation can offer a pathway to resolving even highly contentious family issues and leave the parties with greater peace of mind.
Mediation Fosters Collaboration
Ineffective communication between the parties attempting to settle difficult issues such as parenting time or the equalization of family property, is a significant cause of ongoing conflict in a divorce or separation. An experienced family mediator has comprehensive training in the facilitation of productive discussions, whether those are held jointly or separately. Even if the parties are not on friendly terms, an effective mediator can find a way to encourage compromise and guide the parties towards a mutually agreeable resolution.
Unlike a judge, a mediator does not issue a final decision in the matter. Instead, a mediator guides the discussion with the goal of allowing the parties to arrive at a solution on their own terms. The process puts the parties in control of outcome, giving them greater control and enabling them to find custom solutions suited to the needs and goals of their family.
Mediation is Efficient and Cost-Effective
The time needed to resolve the issues through mediation is often shorter than litigation. Mediation allows the parties to skip formal pre-trial procedures. Further, the schedule is much more flexible and not reliant on the availability of the court, drastically cutting down on waiting time. There is no need to wait for a judge to issue his or her ruling; the participants are free to finalize an agreement at any point during the mediation process.
Since the process encourages efficiency, mediation can also help the parties avoid the high cost of litigation. Even with legal representation, the process is typically more cost-effective because sessions can be scheduled quickly, and the parties can communicate more directly when appropriate. Remote mediation is an excellent tool for parties who live far apart, since it eliminates the need for one or both people to travel, as they would for litigation.
Mediation is Customizable for Convenience and Safety
Mediation allows for greater flexibility with respect to the structure of the process in a way that respects each party’s circumstances and needs. Proceedings can involve private meetings, joint conferences, or a combination.
While collaboration and open communication are hallmarks of mediation, the process can also be utilized to better protect a person with concerns about facing their former partner. In extreme situations where there are issues relating to abuse or severe power imbalances between the parties, mediation can be conducted in a way to protect the safety and dignity of everyone involved. Discussions can be kept remote, distant and private, ensuring that the participants never have to be in the same room, or even in the same conversation. This allows each person to speak freely without fear or intimidation and avoid the potential trauma of facing an abusive or controlling former partner in court.
Contact Boulby Weinberg LLP for Skilled Family Law Mediation Services or Representation
At Boulby Weinberg LLP in Toronto, our divorce lawyers regularly represent clients in private mediation, helping to guide them through the process while securing their interests. We also offer family mediation services provided by one of our partners, Oren Weinberg, a certified family mediator.
To arrange a consultation with a reputable and empathetic lawyer at Boulby Weinberg LLP or to enquire about our mediator services, 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.