What is mediation?
Family law mediation is a negotiation in which former spouses attempt to resolve their divorce issues with the help of a mediator, who is an impartial third party. Mediation is private, confidential and in most cases voluntary; most important of all, it is flexible and can be tailored to the particular needs of an individual couple.
What is the role of the mediator?
The role of the mediator is not as a lawyer for either spouse (a reason why many people will bring their own lawyer to the process), nor can the mediator offer either party legal advice. Ultimately, the power to decide is in the hands of the couple. The mediator pilots the process while the former spouses control the outcome. And as the mediator is jointly chosen and retained, the cost is shared, meaning the process is much more affordable than formal litigation, even if each party provides their own lawyer.
While a mediator does not possess decision-making authority, lawyers trained in mediation can provide information, explain the law and, in some circumstances, provide an evaluation of the potential outcomes were the case to be heard in Court. If the parties reach a consensus, the mediator can draft a separation agreement which will be subject to independent legal advice.