Separation and Divorce Mediation
Separation and Divorce is stressful for both adults and children. The separation process can take months and sometimes years to complete as family members work their way through all the emotional and financial adjustments. Mediation provides a safe and confidential setting to discuss all of the decisions that need to be made in dissolving the relationship. Mediation is different from counselling because the focus is primarily on dealing with the practical realities of the separation as opposed to people’s emotions and personal reactions.
Each mediation meeting has an agenda much like a business meeting. The development of a parenting plan and the division of assets are the main goals of mediation. Mediation is cost effective because the partners can negotiate the terms of a settlement with minimal use of lawyers. Mediation keeps you and your partner in control of the decisions. The mediator facilitates the meetings, provides guidance and information and arranges for a lawyer to draw up any required legal documents. Most settlements can be completed in 4 to 6 meetings.
The Parenting Plan involves negotiations on such issues as custody, guardianship, child support, spousal support, parenting time, school, the children’s activities in and out of school, health, religion, discipline, involvement of other caretakers to name a few of the issues that require agreement. The Parenting Plan can be written up by the mediator so that parents can refer to it as needed.
The Division of Assets involves negotiations on such issues as spousal support, the matrimonial home, assets such as vehicles, other property, household items, pensions and RRSP’S, investments, and businesses. Clients will be asked to provide proof of income, to get assets valued and to prepare a financial statement. Full and honest disclosure is expected of both parties. A referral to a financial expert may be needed if clients require specialized advice about their finances.