Disputes don’t usually go away on their own. There are many ways within our legal system to resolve a dispute – each with their own benefits and short comings. One method is mediation. Here are three good reasons why you should consider mediation:

  1. It’s fast. In a worst case scenario, litigation can take several years from start to finish. On the other hand, it can take as little as a few days to go through mediation from start to finish. When parties need to resolve a dispute and get on with their lives more quickly, mediation is a good potential solution.
  2. It’s often less expensive than the alternatives. Mediations can cost a fraction of the cost of a major trial.
  3. It can provide a greater range of outcomes. A judge is limited to options available under family law. Mediation focuses on finding common interests of the parties, and can look for creative solutions that aren’t limited by the law.

There are a number of ways to resolve a dispute, but many of them require time, money or a good working relationship with the other party. Where one or more of those don’t exist, mediation may be your best solution.
If you feel that mediation might work for your dispute, give us a call and we’ll chat through your situation to determine the best way forward.

FAQs related to Family Law:

No, it is not the mediator’s role to provide legal advice to either party. In fact, we urge you to obtain independent legal advice so you are familiar with your rights and obligations before attending mediation. We can, however, provide legal information to the parties as mediators.
The cost of mediation varies according the needs of each family, the complexity of the legal issues to be resolved and the dynamics between the parties. The hourly rates of our mediators vary (usually within a range of $225 to $400 per hour) and the number of sessions required to reach a final and complete resolution will also vary depending on the issues and needs of the parties. Mediation can be completed in as few as two or three hours up to as many as 15 hours or beyond. As each situation is unique, the cost will vary. Give us a call for a free initial consultation where we can obtain the information needed to create a better estimate.
Typically, it is usually only the mediator, the parties and their lawyers (if the parties are represented) present in a mediation. However, there are times when support people (such as a friend or family member) are present in a mediation, with the permission of the other party.
The role of the mediator is to remain neutral and objective throughout the entire process. We will not take the side of either party as to do so would be contrary to the process.

Furthermore, as experienced family law lawyers we have seen all kinds of personalities, including those who try to manipulate those around them! We are trained to keep our focus on the process and will not be sidelined by attempts of parties to manipulate the proceedings.

Additional Things to Consider

Just because it’s mediation doesn’t automatically mean the process will be safe or comfortable for you. It’s important to select a mediator that has a philosophy of mediation that aligns with how you want the mediation to proceed.

At South Coast Law Group, your mediator will have an introductory meeting with each party to ensure you are fully informed of the process. Your mediator will speak with you to learn what your goals are so that we can help you move toward resolution with your goals and needs in mind.

In advance, your mediator will set out guidelines for how everyone at the mediation must behave. If necessary, we will take special steps to ensure the environment remains safe for you, even if you experienced family violence in your relationship with the other party in the past.

The mediators at South Coast Law Group are not only trained and experienced family law lawyers, we have also undergone rigorous specialized training to become certified mediators through the Law Society of BC. To find out more about our mediators, please call us at 604-496-4096 for more information.

While there are many trained and certified mediators in B.C., they are not all the same. Ideally, you want someone who is an expert in the legal area at hand, has a good track record, and is a good fit for your individual needs.
The starting point in choosing a mediator is first gathering information about the mediator’s knowledge and training. Questions you may wish to ask include: Has the mediator been certified by a reputable agency or society? What is the nature of any formal training the mediator has undertaken? Does the mediator have any special knowledge or expertise in the area you wish to resolve?

Once you narrow your list to those mediators with the requisite knowledge and training, assess what style of mediation you think would best serve your needs. Different mediators have different styles in running a mediation. For example, how comfortable do you feel communicating directly with the other party? Does the mediation engage caucusing (meetings between one party and the mediator) during a mediation? Are you looking for a mediator that is more evaluative (points out weakness in a party’s case or makes assessments about what a judge would likely do) he or is more facilitative (assists parties to analyze issues and explore common interests and options to reach a resolution).

Finally, the most important factor in choosing a mediator, is selecting someone with whom you can create a rapport and ultimately trust to assist you and the other party to reach an enduring resolution to your dispute. Often the only way to determine that is to meet the mediator, or at least chat with them by phone.

While it may seem easier to simply pick any mediator off the internet or out of the phonebook, it is imperative that you assess whether a particular mediator is competent, willing and suited to assisting you in your particular situation.