The Best BC Family Mediation Lawyers know that just a few months ago, a new certification became a requirement of all Divorce lawsuits in the Supreme Court of BC. It requires family lawyers to encourage their clients, among other things, to try to resolve matters out of court, through a “family dispute resolution process”, also known as “ADR”. Does this mean ADR is a new concept? Definitely not. The Best BC Family Mediation Lawyers at MacLean Family Law regularly strive to avoid court and trial if a more practical and efficient resolution can be found, at any given stage of your case, through methods like negotiation, mediation, and sometimes arbitration or a combination of these.
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This article in the series focuses on family law mediation as a way to help you and your family move forward.
Call the Best BC Family Mediation Lawyers at MacLean Family Law to make the most of this powerful trial avoidance tool. 1 877 602 9900
In most BC family law cases, mediation offers a cost-effective alternative to going to court. Parties who are divorcing or litigating another aspect of family law, such as custody, should be prepared for this process. Working with the Best BC Family Mediation lawyers at MacLean Law could help you to avoid the difficulties of going to trial.
With mediation, a non-partial individual, known as a mediator, helps the parties discuss their case in hopes of resolving it. A mediator is not a judge and cannot make decisions for the parties. Instead, the mediator’s objective is to focus attention on the parties’ goals and needs, not rehash arguments against each other. Perhaps the mediator’s most important function is filling the role of an honest broker, thus enabling warring parties to actually negotiate solutions even if the parties are not on speaking terms.
The main advantage of mediation is avoiding the time, expense, and drama that comes with taking a case to trial. Mediation may also help the parties learn to communicate with each other in a respectful manner. Judges expect parents to get along for the benefit of their children or to obey court orders. Successful mediation makes it more likely that the parties will amicably exchange information and cooperate with each other.
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Mediation is confidential, meaning that communications that take place are generally not admissible in court. This allows both sides to let their guard down and talk to each other in ways that court filings don’t. The mediator can then look for common ground that the parties were unwilling or unable to see before. Through this discussion, and relying on the experience of your MacLean Family Lawyer, compromise becomes a real possibility.
Mediation starts with all parties in a room, usually in the more relaxed setting of a law firm’s office. The mediator will explain his or her approach and the mediator’s role in the process. The parties will usually be split into separate rooms after the introductory remarks. The mediator visits each one privately and asks about their concerns, goals, and relative positions in the case. If the parties are able to effectively communicate through the mediator, offers to settle may be exchanged. In cases of high conflict or where family violence is a factor, the joint session at the beginning may be skipped altogether, with each party arriving and departing at a different time so that everyone can feel comfortable.
The mediator will ask what are sometimes difficult questions when he or she meets privately with both parties. The intent is not to upset or side with either party; but rather, to force both sides to consider the risks of going forward with litigation. Your BC Mediation Lawyer from MacLean Law will help to guide you on this critical cost/benefit analysis at every phase of the negotiation, and will make sure that the mediator goes into the other side’s room with all the relevant information, argument (and thus leverage) to substantiate and push for your position in the case.
The mediation process will continue with offers, counteroffers, and back and forth discussions. Some issues may be resolved, while others will need to go to court. Matters that are resolved can be reduced to a settlement agreement. Your MacLean Family Lawyer will help draft and go over with you the terms of the agreement with you, to make sure you are protected. Eventually the agreement can be converted into an order of the Court.
Although you are not required to have a lawyer for mediation, there are major advantages and your lawyer’s involvement will often more than “pay for itself”. Your lawyer will help level the playing field, and make it more likely that your offers will be taken seriously. Rather than being taken advantage of by the other side, you are likely to walk out with a more valuable deal. The Alternative Dispute Resolution lawyers at MacLean Family Law understand that forward-thinking is critical, which is why they will make sure any loose ends are tied.
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Difficult family law cases do not have to wind up in court. Mediation is an effective and reliable way for both sides to settle their differences on their terms. If mediation sounds right for you, MacLean Family Law stands ready to help you navigate through the process so that you can turn the page and get back to focusing on your life and family.