When most people think of conflict resolution, mediation is usually the first thing that comes to mind. And for a good reason! Mediation is an incredibly effective way to resolve many disputes and come to a mutual understanding without resorting to lengthy written negotiations or costly court battles. Here are just a few reasons why mediation is the best way to resolve many aspects of a conflict:
Mediation is voluntary.
The whole point of mediation is to resolve conflict voluntarily. Both parties have entered into the process with an interest in reducing the overall time commitment and cost of resolving many -and sometimes all- of their contested issues.
The presence of a neutral mediator and each parties’ counsel means both parties can feel secure during mediation that they won’t have to worry about the other person lashing out in anger.
The mediator helps each party to identify with the other’s position, and to find options for an acceptable compromise.
Counsel can advise clients on how best to present their position, ensuring the process continues to meet their client’s needs, and that any agreements remain within the bounds of the law.
Because the process relies on each party learning the other’s perspective, mediation can also help to improve communication, which then prevents future conflict from occurring.
If you’re interested in learning more about mediation, you’re in need of a mediation advocate or you’re looking for a mediator to help resolve a family law issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
The lawyers at Fleetwood Family Law would be happy to represent your interests during mediation, and help you find a resolution that works for you.
Mediation is confidential.
Everything said during mediation is confidential. Ideally, this means both parties can freely speak honestly about their feelings and concerns without worrying that it will be used against them later.
Entering into the spirit of a collaborative process allows for an open and honest discussion that can help the mediator understand both parties’ needs and concerns.
The mediator will then ensure that each party fully grasps the other’s position and areas of acceptable compromise can be found. However, it is vital that each party has legal advice during this process.
Everything said during mediation is considered “off the record” which means anything said cannot be used verbatim, and anything disclosed cannot be used as evidence in court if the case goes to trial.
While this encourages both parties to be open and honest about their feelings and concerns, you should know your words could be used later as a line of inquiry.
Since certain bells can never be unrung, it’s imperative to have counsel by your side during mediation not only to witness all dialogue, but also to apply guidance to what is -and is not- shared.
It’s possible that your lawyer will advise against mediation and instead push for arbitration, which is binding while also being entirely confidential.
Mediation is flexible.
Mediation is a very flexible process, which means that it can be tailored to fit the specific needs of each situation. For example, if there are language barriers, mediation can be conducted in a language both parties are comfortable with.
Mediation can focus on some specific aspects of the dispute and reserve others for later.
Additionally, the process can be adapted to enhance personal safety, or accommodate both parties’ schedules or any physical limitations.
The key to successful mediation is communication. The mediator will help facilitate a discussion between both parties to identify the issues and come up with possible solutions.
For best results, both parties must be willing to communicate openly with each other and voice their concerns.
Sometimes face-to-face mediation is uncomfortable for one or both parties for a variety of reasons.
Shuttle mediation- when the mediator “shuttles” from room to room where the parties sit with their lawyers, accomplishes this need for distance while also allowing time for clients to confer with counsel privately, without interrupting the flow of the mediation dialogue.
It is also becoming more common to conduct mediation by zoom or similar options.
Mediation is affordable.
Mediation is relatively affordable compared to other conflict resolution methods, such as litigation. This is because mediation does not require the same document preparation, court filing fees, and hours of trial prep of your lawyer.
When your family law lawyer serves as your mediation advocate, it’s a subordinate role to the mediator who orchestrates the event, and is there to stick-handle issues on the fly during mediation, on your behalf.
In addition, the process is typically much shorter than going to court, saving you time and money.
Additionally, mediation can help preserve relationships that may be damaged by a public airing of the conflict.
This is especially important in cases where the parties involved must continue to share the family home, work together in a family business or maintain close personal relationships with mutual friends and family members.
Mediation is private.
Unlike litigation, which is a public process, mediation is private. This means that the details of your dispute will not become part of the public record, which can be important for people who want to keep certain aspects of their conflict confidential.
It’s common to set the bounds of mediation to cover those aspects, while arguing the remainder at trial.
Mediation is also typically faster and cheaper than going to court, and it can be less stressful because it does not involve the formalities of the legal system.
If you are considering mediation, you should know that it is a voluntary process. This means that both parties must agree to participate in good faith and be willing to work together to resolve identified issues for it to be successful.
The presence of a mediation advocate will go a long way to ensuring the process results in an outcome that is fair to you.
Mediation is fast.
Mediation can usually be completed much faster than other methods of conflict resolution, such as litigation, which can drag on for months or even years.
This is because mediators have less of a backlog than BC courts; clients are not booking time with them to oppose an imposed mediation, on an impossible date.
When law firms canvas local mediation services, they usually prioritize for the soonest dates that work best for both parties.
Because mediation is voluntary, one party is rarely working against the grain to frustrate the process, whereas this is very common with litigants.
Mediation can be used for any conflict.
Mediation can be used to resolve conflicts of all types, whether they concern spousal support, under-declared income, child support, asset or debt division, parenting time, relocation, or any number of other common issues of family dispute.
The mediation process involves the two parties meeting with a trained mediator to discuss the conflict and work towards a resolution, ideally with an legal advocate’s advice and oversight.
The mediator helps the parties communicate safely and effectively and to explore all possible solutions to the problem. Mediation is voluntary; the cost is shared and either party can choose to end the mediation at any time.
If you are interested in mediation, you should keep a few things in mind. First, it is essential to find a truly impartial mediator with experience mediating similar types of conflicts.
The usual way to accomplish this is to have your lawyer’s office canvas the local availability, present three options and let the parties make an arm’s length choice.
This avoids the problem of one party “poisoning the well” or creating a preliminary bond which may cause bias later.
Second, the parties involved in the mediation must be willing to communicate openly and honestly, and to stay within the pre-established bounds of the process which your attorney will have wisely and thoughtfully negotiated in your best interest.
Finally, it is essential to remember that although mediation is confidential, and nothing said during mediation can be used in court, information shared during the mediation process can lead to lines of inquiry later on, while under oath, that will essentially elicit the same responses.
Mediation builds relationships.
The mediation process helps both parties to understand each other’s perspectives and needs, which has the potential to help re-build or improve relationships.
This is in contrast to other methods of ending conflict, such as litigation, which can definitely cause further strain on already threadbare relationships.
Mediation can be used to resolve a dispute before it turns into a full-blown legal battle. This can save time, money, and stress for all involved.
The process is confidential, which means that what is discussed in mediation cannot be used in court.
This allows both parties to feel free to discuss their needs and wants openly, without fear of legal repercussions.
Mediation is empowering.
Mediation empowers both parties to come to a resolution of their own, without having to rely on a judge to decide for them. It also allows both parties to be more flexible in their negotiation, as the rigid rules of court procedures do not bind them during the resolution process.
It’s important to realize that mediators may, or may not, have sufficient familiarity with BC Family Law, but the agreement that comes out of the mediation process is as binding as any other legal contract once it is signed. It’s important to have an experienced family law lawyer as your mediation advocate to ensure the agreement is fair to you before adding your signature.
Mediation is generally less expensive and time-consuming than going to trial, and it can be less stressful for all involved.
Even when only a portion of the family matter is resolved in mediation, that will mean less time will be spent in court if a trial is eventually required to resolve the remaining issues.
Mediation also allows the parties to maintain control over the outcome of their dispute, rather than leaving it in the hands of a judge.
If you are considering mediation to resolve a dispute, you should contact us to find you an appropriate mediator. We can help you navigate the process and ensure that it is conducted fairly.
As you can see, there are many reasons why mediation is a good way to resolve conflict. If you are caught up in a family law issue and you sense that there’s a sincere willingness to resolve it, consider mediation to fix it.
You may be surprised at how well it works!
Fleetwood Family Law is a Surrey-based family law firm that has abundant experience doing mediation advocacy. If you are in conflict and are looking for a resolution, Fleetwood Family Law can help.
Contact us today to learn more about our services.