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Best BC Family Mediation Tips

Best BC Family Mediation Tips can really help you and your separating spouse plus your children move forward successfully. Jeremy Thomsen of our Kelowna office shares what he and our family mediators think are the Best BC Family Mediation Tips.

Best BC Family Mediation Tips 1 877 602 9900

Mediation can be an excellent alternative to litigating your family matter in the courts. With the cost of a trial being in the tens of thousands (or more!), taking months or years to resolve, and the parties not being in control of the eventual outcome, it is no wonder that many people are looking for another way to resolve family law disputes.

Mediation can be less costly (financially and emotionally), more expedient, and the parties themselves can come to a personalized, creative agreement that takes into account their unique circumstances and works for them.

So if mediation is something that anyone with a family law matter in British Columbia should be considering, you should educate yourself as to how you can navigate the process so that you will find yourself in the best possible position to negotiate a fair settlement of the issues arising from the breakdown of your relationship. So let’s find out about the Best BC Family Mediation Tips!

Best BC Family Mediation Tips 1 877 602 9900

With that in mind, the following may be helpful tips for anyone considering mediation:

1. Get a lawyer who is experienced in doing mediation. As you might expect, not all lawyers are the same. Mediation is an area that requires skill and practice like any other. A good mediation lawyer will know how best to prepare for mediation, is a skilled negotiator, and is invaluable in getting the best possible settlement.

2. Provide all necessary disclosure. This is a big one, and is sometimes misunderstood. In the litigation process, there is an obligation to disclose certain documents and information to the other side. This also is true for mediation.

Many people are reluctant to disclose information that may be embarrassing or possibly prove helpful to the other side. But mediation cannot be successful without disclosure of all relevant material; both sides must be able to verify the information to come to a mediated settlement.

For instance, it is virtually impossible to agree on child or spousal support if each side does not know the other’s annual income.

Likewise, agreeing on property division is unlikely and possibly unwise if all the property is not accounted for.

3. Tell your lawyer everything about your matter. Related to disclosure and sometimes (but not always) overlapping, it is important to give yourself and your lawyer the best possible chance to reach an agreement—which can only happen if your lawyer knows everything that you do about your matter. Keep in mind that this will almost always involve more information than you need to disclose to the other side. Trust is important for the lawyer-client relationship to be successful; this is true in mediation as in all other areas. Your lawyer is best able to advise you about positions, interests, negotiation, and other things that may arise throughout the mediation process.

4. Retain an experienced mediator. Just like lawyers, all mediators are not the same and do not have the same level of skill and ability. An experienced mediator can check for family violence and other issues they are trained to identity, and can help the parties come together to reach an agreement that benefits both sides. Your lawyer will likely recommend a mediator based on past experience and the reputation of the mediator within the field. Particularly in high-conflict situations, a mediator can be a tremendous asset in reaching a negotiated settlement.

5. Be willing to compromise. It is sometimes said that the sign of a good deal is when neither side walks away happy. To reach an agreement, both sides will probably have to give a little in order to get a lot more in return—avoiding the hassle and expense of a time-consuming trial.

Parties who go into mediation thinking they will get or are entitled to absolutely everything they want are probably going to leave disappointed.  It is important that in mediation you avoid positional bargaining which involves holding on to a fixed idea, or position, of what you want and arguing for it and it alone, regardless of any underlying interests. If you negotiate on the basis of interests based bargaining, which focuses on developing mutually beneficial agreements based on the interests of the parties, you may be able to obtain an outcome that you could not obtain in court because outcomes received in court are restricted to outcomes founded on the law and within the jurisdiction of the judge.

6. Be patient. Mediation can take a long or short amount of time. It may be easy or exhausting. The other side can appear reasonable or hopelessly stubborn. By remaining calm, knowing that mediation is a negotiated process, and that the goal of both sides is a final settlement, you may be better able to work through a long, difficult day of mediation.

7. Walk away if you must. Everyone wants an agreement. Sometimes, however, that may not be possible. It is important to know what you can and cannot live with. If the other side is insisting upon something that you absolutely could never accept, there is little chance of reaching a deal.

Before you walk away from everything, though, you and your lawyer may want to see if there are other areas where there is consensus and a more limited agreement may be reached. This can minimize the number and complexity (not to mention cost) of the issues that need to go forward to arbitration or to court.

Jeremy Thomsen, MacLean Family Law
Jeremy Thomsen, articled student Kelowna office

If you or someone you know might benefit from mediation, please do not hesitate to contact us and speak with one of our lawyers at MacLean Law. We would be happy to discuss your matter and advise you about your options moving forward. We hope you found these Best BC Family Mediation Tips helpful. Getting started is important to moving forward so contact us across BC and In Calgary.

Call Our BC family lawyers and mediators toll-free at 1 877 602 9900