Crossroads Law offering mediators at new low rates due to COVID 19

By Marcus Sixta, Vancouver family lawyer, Calgary family lawyer, mediator, collaborative lawyer 

As predicted by many, we have now seen a significant increase in new divorce consultations as a result of COVID 19. New clients are telling us that the stress of COVID 19 has had a direct impact on their relationship with their spouse. This can be a result of financial stress, due to loss of income or employment, or even high debt loads and uncertainty due to the loss of the family business. We are also hearing that living in social isolation has taken a toll on family relationships.

At the same time, courts across the country have reduced their services. Some courts, like those in Alberta, have managed to quickly adapt and now offer court by videoconference for most applications. Even so, there is a large backlog of cases before the Alberta courts which has caused delays. Unfortunately, the courts in British Columbia have not been so quick to adapt and there are only limited avenues for family law and divorce cases before the courts at this time. This is the result of years of underfunding the court system, and finger-pointing between the justice system and the government on the right path forward. The backlog of family law and divorce cases in British Columbia will be extreme.

I have always advocated for mediation as a way to resolve family law cases quickly and efficiently. Alternative dispute resolution like mediation and collaborative divorce, offer ways of resolving conflict after separation and divorce without the need to go to court, where one can spend tens of thousands of dollars on applications and trials. However, mediation and collaborative law have an even more important role to play now that the court system is stalled due to COVID 19.

Rather than waiting years for a trial, mediation can be booked within weeks and can offer a client centered approach to conflict resolution. With family law mediation, the spouses are in control of the outcome. They decide what the solution is, rather than having a judge create a solution for them. In this way, mediation can provide an avenue towards an outcome that actually meets the interests of a particular family.

Moreover, the more that files are moved out of the court system and into alternative dispute resolution like mediation and collaborative law, the more quickly our courts can recover from the COVID 19 shutdown. This has an impact on every area of law, including criminal law, where the lack of court time and resources due to a general backlog of cases across the justice system, has created a situation where many people charged with criminal offences may have their cases dismissed due to delay.

This is why Crossroads Law is offering reduced rates for mediation services. We hope that more people will be encouraged to mediate their disputes if mediation is offered at a lower price. Therefore, until the end of 2020, the family Law mediators as Crossroads Law will be offering their services at reduced rates.

Remember that the mediator is not the lawyer for either spouse. The mediator therefore cannot provide legal advice to either spouse but only guides the process of dispute resolution. The costs for mediation services are typically shared 50-50 between separating or divorcing spouses. The initial process to book a mediation involves contacting Crossroads Law for three meetings, one short phone call separately with each spouse, and one mediation session. Additional mediation sessions can be booked for more complicated files.

Should you have any questions about mediation, collaborative family law, or alternative dispute resolution in general, contact us now for more information. The family lawyers at Crossroads Law practice all areas of family law and assist clients across British Columbia and Alberta.

The information contained in this blog is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only.