The Mediation Process
Here is a general outline of our mediation process. However, each person brings different qualities, ideas, skills and needs to the meetings which help shape the mediation process:
- a) The first meeting with the mediator is for information. It is the time that the participants and mediator decide whether or not they want to work together and how the mediation will proceed.
- b) If the participants decide to retain the mediator, they sign an Agreement to Mediate. The mediator then obtains more in-depth information from the participants, including, where necessary, financial or other material. This helps the mediator understand the issues and helps the participants see more clearly what they want to accomplish.
- c) Normally, all meetings will involve all the participants. In that case, if one of the participants contacts the mediator, the mediator may or may not talk with the single participant, depending on the subject matter. If the mediator does have a discussion with a single participant, the mediator will inform the other participant(s) of the contents of the discussion.
- d) If for some reason face to face mediation becomes difficult but the participants still wish to continue to work out an agreement, then the mediator may “shuttle” mediate between the participants and with their lawyers where necessary.
- e) Unless there is some special reason against full disclosure which the participants agree to, the participants must disclose all financial and other information so that the participants can reach agreement based on all the facts. If one of the participants later discovers another of the participants withheld information which, if known, would have changed the final agreement, the participants may ask the Court to set aside the agreement.
- f) The mediator cannot give legal advice to the participants but may provide the participants with information about the state of the law in the area in dispute. The mediator may also offer suggestions if the participants get bogged down and ask the mediator for help creating some new and different ways to seek solutions.
- g) Depending on the number of issues, mediation sessions can range over several weeks, typically 1 to 3 hours at a time. It may complete in one session, or it may complete in six sessions, depending on the number of issues to be resolved, the number of participants, the depth of feeling the participants might have towards each other and the ease or difficulty in their attempts to be objective and to hear and understand each other’s point of view so they can reach a mutually acceptable conclusion.
- h) While the participants are involved in mediation, the participants agree to not make changes which might affect the issues under mediation without written consent of the other participant(s), for instance:
- ii) when division of assets or payment of money is an issue, the participants will not change ownership of any of the assets; or
- iii) when child custody or visitation is an issue, the participants will not make changes to the residence or lifestyle of the child.
- This is a common-sense rule. Mediation cannot work if the participants do not play fair.
- i) All communications, correspondence and information exchanged by the participants are confidential and privileged. It follows that should the mediation process not work out, nothing said or done in the mediation sessions may be used as evidence in a Court proceeding, except in the following instance:
- i) Every person is obliged by law to report any information which would indicate a child needs protection.
- i) when a participant is covered under the other’s medical and dental insurance, the medical and dental coverage will continue;