The decision as to how to move forward in resolving parenting and/or financial matters upon separation involves process choices offering different responses to choose from. Each process choice will open the door to a different experience of separation and divorce.
By offering legal services as a Mediator, Collaborative Family Lawyer and Arbitrator,
I value being able to offer choices that can also be combined to design a customized process which will best support the needs, hopes and goals of the parties.
Mediation is an out of court process that uses a neutral third party, i.e. the mediator, to facilitate and manage the settlement discussions in a way that assists parties in reaching a mutually acceptable settlement. Mediation focuses on exploring solutions that meet the interests of both parties which is referred to as “interest based negotiation”.
The mediator listens to understand each party’s goals, hopes, concerns and fears to uncover hidden interests; ensures that each party has the information he or she requires from the other; and assists the parties in exploring mutually satisfying outcomes that meet their interests.
As a mediator, I meet with each person individually for a one hour consultation with the first half hour free. After these initial consultations, an assessment is made as to whether mediation is suited for the particular needs of the parties and the dispute.
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The mediation process can also be tailored to provide more support where needed to optimize the likelihood of settlement by engaging the expertise and skills of various trained professionals such as a Divorce Coach, Financial Specialist or Child Specialist. These professionals can help to avoid and remove roadblocks to settlement thereby reducing legal fees.
Once a settlement is reached, I am able to draft a comprehensive Separation Agreement in accordance with the terms of the settlement.
Although I am a lawyer, I cannot provide any legal advice when acting as a Mediator. As such, each party will be instructed to seek independent legal advice in regards to the mediated settlement before signing the Separation Agreement.
In considering mediation, keep in mind that obtaining independent legal advice after reaching a mediated settlement can trigger the unravelling of the agreement. If this is a concern, you may want to consider Collaborative Family Law.
Mediation can also be combined with Arbitration (“Med-Arb”) giving the mediator the authority to make the final decision when an issue can’t be resolved by mutual agreement. After a hearing, the mediator, acting as Arbitrator, makes findings of fact and applies the law to those facts in rendering a final binding decision. Book an appointment.
Collaborative Family Law is recognized under the Family Law Act as an out of court dispute resolution process.
This process requires two collaboratively trained lawyers who collectively use their mediation skills in approaching the dispute as a joint problem to be solved. Negotiations take place over a series of meetings where lawyers take on different roles other than adversaries. Parties can have the benefit of ongoing legal advice while still mediating their disputes.
If the needs of the parties require additional support, the collaborative process can be customized by working with trained professionals such as Divorce Coaches, Financial Specialists and Child Specialists. I work with a team of Professionals to assist when these needs arise.
A key component of the collaborative law process involves signing a Participation Agreement whereby the parties agree not to go to court and instead follow the process guidelines designed to optimize the likelihood of settlement. If a party decides to go to court, the collaborative lawyers are prohibited from representing either party in court.
If there is an issue that cannot be resolved through mutual agreement, the parties have the option to go to court with new lawyers or to resolve the dispute by Arbitration which would provide them with a legally binding decision by an Arbitrator acting as a Judge.
By not going to court, each party can continue to engage their collaborative lawyers in the Arbitration process so as to minimize the adversarial nature of the proceedings. Book an appointment.
Arbitration is an out of court process that offers a legally binding decision by a qualified Arbitrator acting as a Judge. The Arbitrator makes findings of facts and makes rulings based upon the straight application of the law. The rules governing the Arbitration can be mutually agreed upon so that the hearing process can be tailored to meet the needs of the parties.The Arbitration process offers parties greater efficiency and more control over the issues to be decided, the length of the proceedings, the rules governing the proceedings and the timing of the proceedings.
The decision of an Arbitrator is legally binding and has the same effect as if it had been made in court.
Arbitration can be used on it’s own or combined with mediation or collaborative family law, whenever a third party decision is required.
When Arbitration is combined with Mediation, it is often referred to as Mediation-Arbitration or “Med-Arb”. When the parties mediating a dispute are unable to resolve all or part of it, the mediator switches roles to become the Arbitrator who will make the final decision after a hearing. The Arbitrator’s decisions include findings of fact and are based upon applying the law to the facts as would be required of a Judge.
When Arbitration is combined with Collaborative Family Law, any unresolved issue(s) can be decided by an Arbitrator who would provide a legally binding decision. The collaborative family law lawyers can work together in such a way as to minimize the adversarial nature of the proceedings while still being effective advocates. Book an appointment.