Family mediation is a process where parties sit down with a trained mediator who facilitates discussions between the parties. The mediator assists the parties in reaching a solution that suits them best and is most suitable for their family. The parties can be in the same room or separate, and their lawyers may be involved.
In addition to providing a less stressful alternative to litigation, family mediation is far more cost-effective, allowing participants to share in the costs of resolving their disputes rather than bearing the sole financial burden of litigation. It is also a faster and more efficient process, often concluding in a matter of months compared to years spent in litigation.
As an alternative dispute resolution procedure, family mediation is a voluntary process that puts the parties in control of their future, unlike in court where decisions are made by a judge. This can be a relief, particularly as families may be struggling to adapt to life after separation or divorce.
Parties who participate in family mediation may try to resolve a number of issues including shared parenting, property division and child support. A benefit of the mediation process is that it encourages open communication between the parties and is a way to develop a positive co-parenting relationship. It is also more likely that participants will adhere to the terms of any agreement if they have helped to create it, as opposed to having a judge impose an Order on them.