Have Questions?
Learn with our FAQ's
SEE MORE

What is Mediation?

An amicable approach

Mediation is a process of dispute resolution in which parties to a conflict agree to refer their matter to a trained, impartial and neutral third party. The neutral party assists you and the other party in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution by facilitating the mediation process, promoting respect of the process and ensuring there is effective communication. In the event that you are unable to reach a mutually acceptable agreement you are free to pursue other action, including litigation or another form of alternative dispute resolution.

Advantages

There are many advantages to pursuing a resolution through mediation, some of which are as follows:

Efficiency

Mediation can be commenced within a relatively short period of time after the development of a dispute. Resolution can be achieved in between one and five meetings or sessions, depending on the number and complexity of the issues.

Privacy

The mediation process is confidential and held in private thereby avoiding exposure of the conflict, and any related information through the formalized filings that are required in the public court system.

Informality

The setting for mediation is relaxed and informal in comparison to litigation proceedings. The relaxed and informal setting is meant to foster open communication and allow parties to focus on non-confrontational problem solving.

CREATIVITY OF THE RESULT

In litigation or arbitration, the Justice or Arbitrator is required to apply the law and will impose a resolution to a dispute in accordance with the law. Parties in a mediation have the opportunity to create a resolution that does not fit within the confines of the law, thereby opening up potential solutions that would not be possible in a litigation model.

Cost

Mediation can be very cost effective, in comparison to lengthy litigation or arbitration proceedings.

Protects Children from Conflict

One of the greatest indicators of how well children will be able to cope with separation is the extent to which they are exposed to conflict between their parents. The increased animosity resulting from traditional litigation is difficult to hide from children and therefore increases the risk of long-term harm to the children. In contrast, by promoting effective communication, cooperation and understanding through mediation, parties are better able to reduce the conflict between them and learn to effectively co-parent into the future for the benefit of their children.

CONTROL OF THE RESULT

In mediation there is no final resolution until both parties agree to an outcome. As such, each party has control over the outcome and no third party justice or arbitrator can impose a resolution on you in the mediation process.

COMPLIANCE WITH REQUIREMENT TO ATTEND AN ADR

All litigants are required by the Alberta Rules of Court to attempt settlement through some form of formal alternate dispute resolution prior to scheduling a trial. A Mediation session satisfies this requirement.

Limitations

Although mediation has its advantages, there are also limitations associated with mediation, including the following:

VOLUNTARY

Mediation is a process that requires both parties be committed to using mediation to resolve the dispute that exists. If one party refuses to take part, it is not possible to continue with mediation.

CONTROL OF THE RESULT

While this is an advantage of mediation, as discussed above, it can also be a disadvantage. Parties can proceed through the mediation process and never achieve a mutually agreeable resolution. That means that the parties must then commence resolution through other means, such as litigation or arbitration, and the cost and time devoted to the mediation sessions would be wasted.

ENFORCEMENT

Unlike Court Orders and Arbitration Awards, mediated settlements are not automatically enforceable or legally binding. Upon reaching a solution the parties must convert their terms of settlement into a mechanism which can be enforced, such as a Contract or Court Order.

Mediation FAQS

If you have any questions or would like to further discuss any matters related to the FAQs, please connect with us directly.
CONTACT US
During mediation, can I speak with the mediator privately?
Yes. Although many mediation settlement sessions typically take place with both parties in the same room as the mediator, it is also quite common for some portion of mediation settlement meetings to occur with the parties in separate rooms with the mediator going back and forth between the rooms. This is referred to as caucusing.
When caucusing occurs, the mediator always clearly clarifies whether or not what is said in the private meeting can be shared with the other party. Anything that is not expressly specified as shareable will be kept confidential by the mediator and will not be discussed with the other party.
How can I prepare for mediation?
Attending mediation can be intimidating. You may be nervous about even sitting in the same room as your ex and the issues to be resolved can be very stressful. In order to feel more in control and to ensure the mediation is effective, it is important to be prepared. Here are some tips:
• Think about the key issues carefully.
• Reflect on your interests, needs, goals, concerns, fears, and hopes. What is most important to you? (eg. happy and healthy children, financial security, fairness, certainty)
• Think about your spouse's perspective, interests and alternatives.
• Communicate effectively, which can be difficult. Speak to be understood and listen to understand. It is important for people to feel heard, to feel understood. The more you can understand and acknowledge the others perspective the more likely you are to achieve an agreement. Remember that understanding and/or acknowledgment does not indicate that you agree with their perspective.
• Focus on the future and be prepared to let go of the past. You could likely argue forever about the past without agreeing, it is a futile endeavor. Luckily agreeing on the past is unnecessary to reach a comprehensive resolution so let it go and focus on what you need to see happen in the future in order for you to say yes to a solution.
• Be open to trusting the mediation process, even if you do not trust your spouse. Trust the process.
• Gather any paperwork or factual information you believe will be relevant to reaching an agreement. This frequently includes:
◦ pay stubs
◦ income tax returns
◦ notices of assessment
◦ financial statements
◦ costs associated with your children’s education, extracurricular activities, medical expenses, etc.
◦ a list of assets and liabilities
◦ bank account statements
◦ investment statements, both registered and non-registered
◦ pension plan statements
◦ credit card statements
◦ loan statements
◦ mortgage statements
◦ real estate value appraisals, realtor opinions, city tax assessments
◦ vehicle value appraisals, blue/black book values
◦ monthly budget of expenses
◦ details and costs of retraining
• Identify possible solutions. Ideally you would generate at least three potential solutions that address both parties needs and interests for each and every issue. However, be open to alternatives. The more open you can be the more likely you will be successful.
• Be patient. A lot of the work in mediation is done in the beginning (gathering background facts, financial documentation, exploring interests, needs, fears and goals). That work can feel slow, cumbersome and frustrating but have faith. It is a process and is like building a pyramid. The wide base takes time but it is essential for the remainder. You need to allow sufficient time for a solution to be achieved.
• If you feel like terminating mediation, commit to taking a break and giving the mediator five minutes of your time before you actually terminate the process.
• Think positively a solution is just around the corner!
How long will the process take?
The processes provided by Jones Divorce Mediation can take anywhere from several hours to a few weeks. A matter that takes a few months is possible, but that would be considered very long.

The length of the process varies depending on the number of issues requiring resolution, the complexity of those issues, the degree of amicability, the level of entrenchment in positions at the commencement of mediation, the timing of mediation (eg. over Christmas, Spring Break or Summer vacations), and whether experts are required.
How much will the process cost?
Jones Divorce Mediation offers its services either by hourly rate or pursuant to a predetermined all-inclusive flat rate. Once the number of issues and their complexity is determined a flat rate will be offered and you can then select the flat rate or hourly rate. With a flat rate, clients will know in advance how much the process will cost before they commit to using it.

Regardless of how complex a matter is and how adversarial parties are, a solution achieved through Jones Divorce Mediation will involve a mere fraction of the cost of a litigated resolution.
Is mediation for me?
Mediation is a process that promotes effective communication, creative solutions and the resolution of conflict in a mutually agreeable manner. The way that issues get resolved can have a tremendous effect on a family’s adjustment to separation. All disputes can be resolved through mediation. Whether it is decision making, parenting time, the division of assets and debts or how income should be shared or any other number of issues mediation can lead to the best possible outcome.

Mediation is geared toward couples that are committed to working toward a solution to their dispute. Parties do not have to feel friendly to one another. In fact, it is very common for there to be feelings of anger, mistrust and trepidation about the other party. Mediation requires both parties to be involved in the process.

A mediated resolution can only be achieved through the participation of both parties to a dispute so both people need to be willing to work with the mediator to achieve a solution. Since mediation is a cooperative process where everybody is attacking the problem and not each other, it builds communication skills that can be used in future planning and parenting.

Mediation also promotes understanding which can lead to the foundation of a more cooperative relationship after divorce.

However, mediation is not for everyone, such as when Child Family Services is actively involved, when there is a history of severe abuse or when a child has been abducted from this jurisdiction.
Is mediation private and confidential?
Everything that happens in mediation stays in mediation. All discussions, admissions, proposals and negotiations which occur during mediation are without prejudice. That is, they cannot be used against a party in a later arbitration or court application. This is meant to encourage participants to speak freely and openly and to make resolution proposals without fear that their proposal could be held against them in another forum.
What if we cannot reach an agreement through mediation?
Mediation does not always result in a settlement of all issues. However, even reaching an agreement on some issues is beneficial since a reduction of the issues can significantly reduce the time and money it takes to resolve the remaining conflicts.

Parties that have outstanding issues after mediation are free to resolve those in whatever manner they choose. They can continue to negotiate an agreement or they can have a decision imposed upon them through court or arbitration.

At Jones Divorce Mediation we believe that it is best for people to achieve a prompt and cost effective resolution to their issues. We offer arbitration services for parties that are unable to agree on everything in mediation.
What is involved in the mediation process?
The mediation process offered by Jones Divorce Mediation is designed to maximize success. The mediation procedure is tailored to the level of conflict between the parties and the complexity of the issues involved. Jones Divorce Mediation’s mediation procedure typically involves the following steps:

 1. Parties jointly attend an information session in which the mediation agreement is reviewed and signed and the parties inform the mediator about what issues need to be discussed. Basic financial information (legally known as disclosure) that may be required for a successful mediation is identified, plans and procedure for obtaining that information are established, and parties are provided with valuable relevant legal information which may be important for them to consider when reaching an agreement.

 2. Each party can separately attend an hour-long mediation coaching session to acquire the essential skills for a successful mediation.

 3. The parties jointly attend one or more settlement meetings in order to:
◦ discuss the matters in issue
◦ explore each party’s interests, needs and goals
◦ make proposals for a harmonious solution
◦ evaluate resolution options, and
◦ finalize a comprehensive settlement that is acceptable to both parties.
What is the client's role in mediation?
Clients are responsible for:

 • Raising issues that may need to be addressed
• Prioritizing the agenda items
• Respecting the mediation process
• Making proposals
• Making decisions
What is the role of the mediator?
The mediator is a neutral and impartial third party who:

 • Manages the mediation process
• Coaches parties on the skills for a successful mediation
• Provides general information
• Facilitates effective communication
• Translates by rephrasing or reframing
• Questions and clarifies the issues and concerns identified by the parties and the proposals made by the parties
• Advises on process
• Acts as a catalyst by inspiring new perspectives, posing reference points for consideration and stimulating an agreement
• Writes a mediation report outlining the terms of the parties' agreement
What issues can be discussed?
Any matter in dispute can be resolved in mediation, mediation/arbitration, and arbitration. However, Jones Divorce Mediation deals only with divorce, separation and family issues, including parenting plans, division of property, child support, spousal support, communication, prenuptial agreements, cohabitation contracts, marriage agreements, decision making, parenting schedules, vacation schedules, child exchange arrangements, decisions related to the child such as education, health and welfare, place of residence and selection and participation in activities.
When should these process options be avoided?
Our process options are not appropriate for situations of severe abuse, a child having been abducted or when Child Family Services is actively involved.

In situations where there is a history of domestic violence, mental illness or severe drug or alcohol abuse mediation is challenging. However, it is sometimes possible to have a successful mediation even with these issues because parties can meet with the mediator separately or they can have their lawyers attend mediation with them.

In order for mediation to be effective both parties need to be able to express themselves. If you wish to attempt mediation but you have one or more of these problems make sure you tell your mediator about the situation up front.
Who may attend?
Typically, only the individuals involved in the dispute attend mediation. However, they are free to bring their legal counsel to mediation sessions with them.

Sometimes parties decide to consult a tax expert, financial advisor, business valuator, mental health professional or other expert. The expert may attend a mediation session to provide information and assistance to move the parties toward their agreement.

Learn More About Our Services

Tailored to your unique needs.

Have you
heard about
our resource
library?

Including helpful information on how to heal from divorce
Did You Know?
We have over 35 years of experience!
February 5, 2018
The Impact of Parental Conflict on Young Children

How Conflict Contributes Negatively To Children's Adjustment To Divorce We have all heard the term “staying together for the kids” to refer to parents who remain married until their children are grown and out of the house. What many parents don’t realize is that continuous exposure to conflict is much more detrimental to a child’s […]

Read More

Read more helpful articles at our blog

LEARN MORE

Contact Us

We want to hear from you.
After completing this form, a member of our team will reach out to you to schedule an appointment. 
HOURS OF OPERATION
MON-FRI: 8:30AM - 4:30PM
SAT-SUN: CLOSED

210, 333 24 AVE SW,
CALGARY, AB T2S 3E6
COPYRIGHT © 2018 - JONES DIVORCE MEDIATION INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WEB DESIGN BY
INET MEDIA LTD.
phone-squareenvelopepencilmagic-wandenterlicenseuserusersspell-checksynccheckmark-circlepointer-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram