What is family mediation & why consider using it to resolve conflict?
There is no getting around it – divorce is painful and it can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be a messy and financially devastating life event. One of the available alternative dispute resolution processes is called Family Mediation. This process is voluntary, consensual and involves a specially trained neutral professional. The Mediator helps the parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Family Mediation is an interest based form of negotiation where the main focus is on the interests and concerns for both parties. The traditional process for separating couples is under an adversarial system that pits one side, with their lawyer, against the other side, with their lawyer. Often there is implied or overt threats of litigation which can be emotionally and financially devastating. Although the vast majority of court files are settled before it gets to a trial, that resolution often comes too late, costs too much, and falls below expectations for the parties. An adversarial process by nature makes preserving the family relationships with children, extended family members and mutual friends much more difficult, if not impossible.
With Family Mediation, couples can mediate all or some of their conflicts, such as: financial issues (support issues and property division) and/or parenting issues (parenting plan arrangements). Decisions are reached based of full disclosure, facilitated discussions and “under the shadow of the law”. Independent legal advice still plays a role in Family Mediation to ensure the rights and obligations by both parties are understood and a quality written separation agreement is drafted that is legally binding and enforceable.
Divorce represents the second most common risk to an individual’s wealth. It is one of the most stressful of life experiences. No process can eliminate the profound loss and roller-coaster of emotions-hurt, anger, guilt, regret and fear-that comes with a relationship transition. However, the process the spouses choose, the skills of the professionals and the philosophy of interest-based negotiations will impact the experience for both parties and their families. Where suitable, separating couples should consider saving time and family resources by organizing their separation agreement cooperatively, out-of-court, with the right process and professionals.
Financial Divorce Solutions offers Family Mediation services for suitable clients to help them work toward a mutually acceptable agreement. Visit www.fdsniagara.ca to learn more about all the services offered by Financial Divorce Solutions and how Gail Belchior can help those facing a separation make the best financial decisions during an emotional and stressful time for a better outcome.
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