fightWhile nearly everyone has a vivid image of courtroom divorces in their mind thanks to television and movies, most people are in the dark when it comes to mediation. To help you get a better idea of what divorce mediation is and what to expect during the process, here are answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions:

How Is Mediation Different from Litigated Divorces?

Traditional divorce litigation puts the power completely in the court’s hands. The ultimate decision will come down to a judge, who may not have all the facts or who will be unable to consider every single one of them. Even still, their decision is binding and divorcing parties must engage in a lengthy appeals process to change it.

Mediation puts the power in the divorcing couples’ hands. They get to dictate an agreement. When the ultimate decision is reached, they will be the ones to decide what it says and whether they will sign it.

Most important of all, the pace of mediation can be much quicker. There is far less waiting for motions to be filed, court dates to approach or any of the other factors that cause divorce cases to stretch out for months or even years.

What Is the Mediation Process?

On your first mediation meeting, you will learn the specifics of the mediation process in detail. You will also be encouraged to set an agenda addressing the scope of areas that must be covered in a divorce agreement, including asset division, child custody and other vital matters.

Through a series of appointments, you will present your views on these matters and eventually negotiate an agreement that both parties can be satisfied with.

Who Is the Mediator and What Do They Do?

A mediator is someone with specialized training in divorce mediation. They almost always have a background as divorce attorneys, family counselors or a mixture of both.

Their main role is to act as a neutral third party to keep discussions productive and ensure that all necessary points are covered. They can also serve as an advisor in matters of fairness or legal compliance.

Will I Need a Lawyer?

An attorney case consultant will help draft the language of the final agreement, which is presented as a binding contract for both parties to sign. Each party is free to evaluate the agreement with their respective attorney before signing.

Bringing a lawyer to the mediation meeting can be acceptable if the mediator and the other spouse are comfortable with it. However, couples are discouraged from “talking through” their attorneys or “siccing” their attorneys after someone. The whole point of mediation is for the actual people involved to conduct the conversations and come to an agreement, not their lawyers.

Overall, mediation is a process designed to produce more desirable outcomes with less stress involved. You can visit our Mediation page for more specific answers to these questions and others you may have.

fighting2It’s an understatement to say that divorce is a time of confusion and uncertainty. Both parties face the dissolution of a partnership that once was intended to be for life. Now they face a future where they have to start over, rediscover their independence and re-establish a single and separate life. This can lead to anger and bitterness, but for many couples, litigation or a court divorce is the worst option. Mediation or arbitration can be far better approaches that can help to salvage respect and sometimes friendship from the loss of the romance. It’s important, however, to understand the difference between divorce mediation and arbitration.

Divorce Arbitration

In an arbitrated divorce, the couples have usually hit a wall in their negotiations and need a third-party to step in, but still don’t want the pain and frustration of a trial. This is where an arbitrator comes in. The arbitrator is a neutral third-party that is agreed upon by the couple and their attorneys. This arbitrator is often a judge who will hear both sides of the argument and make a ruling. This ruling or award is final and not subject to appeal.

Arbitration Benefits

The benefits of an arbitrated settlement are manifold. First, the divorced couples choose the arbitrator and the issues to be resolved, as opposed to a court trial where the judge is assigned and everything is often on the table. This arbitrator can have specific areas of expertise or experience in the area of the impasse: tax law, real estate, business, or youth and family services.

Second, arbitration is private and confidential. It’s not a matter of public record, it is less formal, costs less and reduces emotional stress. Third, the couple gets to decide on the time and location of the hearing, saving the strain of enforced scheduling. Finally, arbitration can be used as a part of a mediated divorce, where a single issue is at an impasse and needs to be resolved before moving on.

Mediation

A mediated divorce is the ideal solution for many couples. In this type of divorce, the couples sit down with a neutral third-party as in arbitration, but work together to determine how to split their assets. This process allows parties to get past anger, bitterness and vengeful ideas and work out a split that is fair and equal to all involved. The mediator in this case is there to ensure everyone remains clear-headed and respectful. He or she does not make decisions for the split, but encourages and guides the couple to make the right decision for themselves.

Mediation Benefits

A mediated divorce saves time, stress and emotional turmoil by avoiding an adversarial climate. It allows for open communication, salvages respect and partnership between the couples and focuses on resolution of issues in a clear-headed and problem solving manner.

Divorce mediation and arbitration can often be used together to resolve difficult problems. These forms of non-adversarial divorce approach can salvage relationships, protect children and even, sometimes, save a marriage. If you would like to explore these options, we can help. Give us a call for a consultation today!

parenting1Divorces can be difficult without children, but if you add children to the mix, a divorce becomes all that much more complicated with extra layers added into the mix. Reasons for the divorce may not need to be given to the children but both spouses need to be extra careful in explaining to the children that none of this is their fault.

Once the divorce is finalized and all of the formalities are done, life will continue for both parties and for the children of the divorce. Here is some information on the mandatory steps for filing for divorce in Calgary if you have children.

PASS

If you and your spouse have filed for divorce and children who are under the age of 16 are a part of the equation, a parenting after separation course is a mandatory part of the divorce proceedings.

The course is a one day course (6 hours) that is designed to help parents understand each of the roles they areresponsible for after the divorce. The course examines in detail the separation and divorce process and the effects that these proceedings will have on children.

It also offers various techniques for communication between the two divorcing parties, legal information that may affect either party or the children and problem solving strategies each parent can apply in a variety of settings and circumstances.

This course teaches parents about the importance of working together in order to meet the children’s social, educational, health and most importantly their emotional needs. The parenting after separation course encourages both parties to attend mediation meetings and to consider dispute resolution options such as parenting plans and relationship building.

There is no cost to either parent for any of the seminars nor is there any cost attached to the mandatory parenting after separation course.

PASHC

If very little headway has been made or either party is still not satisfied with the information that has been passed on at the parenting after separation workshop, a further seminar is offered that looks at high conflict situations.

Parenting after separation for high conflict families (PASHC) focuses on how to get each parent to emotionally disengage from each other and how to identify and renegotiate their boundaries.

During this course, parents are encouraged to develop a parenting plan that will reduce conflict between each parent and to help minimize the contact each parent will have with the other. Again, there is no cost attached to this course.

Divorces that involve children can be very complicated and difficult for not only each party, but also for the child itself. The parenting after separation course is specifically designed to help ease some of the stress and frustration during this difficult period of time.

If you need more information about where to take this course or wish to discuss any of the courses in more detail, please feel free to contact us as we would be happy to offer you our professional advice.

arbitratorArbitration, a dispute resolution process that help disputing parties reach an agreement outside of court, is an efficient and inexpensive process. Once you have decided on this path, you must choose an arbitrator. Choosing the right professional is essential to ensure the process is as streamlined as possible.

How to Choose an Arbitrator

Choosing an arbitrtor may seem like a daunting and difficult task, but it does not have to be. The following advice will help you choose an arbitrator that is right for you.

Helpful Tips

Sometimes this process requires special expertise. Here are some additional tips on choosing a arbitrator:

After Choosing an Arbitrator

Once you have chosen an arbitrator with professional credentials and experience, you are ready to begin the arbitration process. Each party in the dispute tells his side and details specific decisions it would like the arbitrator to determine. The disputing parties may decide to present witnesses and documents to support their cases.

Keep these tips in mind as you resolve your dispute:

Settling a dispute can be a difficult process. Jones Divorce Mediation will make arbitration efficient and affordable for you. Call us today for a free confidential consultation.

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