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 discussed why mediation can be a healthier process for the participants with respect to their emotional and mental wellbeing. In our final installment in the series, we will review how family mediation can help families preserve their assets while navigating a separation or divorce.
When family disputes arise, it is often a costly and time-consuming endeavour to try to resolve these disputes through traditional litigation. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism focused on open discussion and compromise to facilitate the goal of reaching an agreement that works for both parties. In mediation, an experienced mediator guides the parties through each issue, until a resolution is reached, allowing the parties to find the solutions that work for their particular circumstances. The mediator keeps the focus and facilitates discussion, but control over the outcome remains squarely with the parties themselves.
Mediation is Often Less Expensive Than Litigation
A primary reason why mediation is the chosen resolution method for many couples is cost. It is no secret that trials are often very expensive and have the effect of draining the family assets more quickly than other family law processes. If a couple can work collaboratively, mediation can save a significant amount of money, leaving a larger pot of assets for the couple to share.
How Can Mediation Keep the Cost of a Divorce or Separation Down?
1. The Litigation Process is Costly by Default
To illustrate why mediation is preferable over court proceedings from a financial standpoint, one first needs to understand the various requirements in taking a family law dispute to court, and how they impact one’s legal fees. Aside from the time a lawyer spends arguing in court, a process that can go on for months or years, especially in highly contentious situations, going to court also requires the following:
- A significant amount of work is required of each party before a trial begins, including the preparation of claims, disclosure materials, comprehensive legal research, attendances at pretrial conferences, motions, trial preparation and attendance at trial. This is time-consuming and can result in considerable legal fees before the trial even begins.
- The formalities of the trial process require the drafting of multiple documents including motions, evidentiary records, and legal submissions, which also have a significant impact on legal fees.
The costs involved in going to court can add up quickly, especially if there a several issues to be settled. Further, a trial judge will commonly award legal costs in favour of the more successful party at the end of the trial. This means that one party may be required to pay a portion of their former partner’s legal expenses in addition to their own.
In family mediation, the process is almost always more efficient, taking less time overall and reducing the number of formal steps. The time required to finalize a mediation is completely within the control of the parties; as soon as they are able to reach an agreement, the process will come to an end. Furthermore, parties are able to share costs of mediation without running into a risk, as with a court proceeding, that they may have to pick up some of the costs of the other party, if unsuccessful.
2. Mediation is a Flexible Process
Mediation can be an extremely flexible process, enabling the participants to join remotely using teleconference technology. The technology can enable the parties to carry out the mediation as if they were in the same location, even allowing for private breakout discussions as necessary. This allows each party to stay close to home saving the time and expense of travel for the duration of the process.
3. Efficiency & Resolution is the Goal of Every Successful Family Mediator
By its very nature, mediation is a process designed to encourage the parties to reach an agreement on issues such as the equalization of net family property, support and parenting time. The mediator allows the parties to share their concerns, experiences and views on the issues with one another other, and then helps them determine their individual needs and interests. As such, the participants are better able to move past fault-based perceptions and find common ground.
Perhaps most importantly, the mediator keeps the parties focused on working towards the common goal of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. Retaining an experienced and knowledgeable mediator will help to ensure discussions are productive, resulting in a streamlined and cost-effective mediation.
Contact Boulby Weinberg LLP for Skilled Family 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.