- Family mediation involves meeting with a mediator who attempts to assist the parties to negotiate a solution for their problem.
- While I am a lawyer, I do not give legal advice to either party in mediation and the parties should not rely on the mediator to protect their legal positions or interests. There are materials on my web-site to assist the parties in preparing. It is helpful if a party has a lawyer available for advice, whether or not, the lawyer actually attends at a mediation session.
- The mediator is required to screen for family violence. The mediator will meet with each party and use the results of the screening to structure the mediation process. I combine screening with pre-mediation meeting with each party to clarify what the party hopes to achieve by mediation. This will take about 1.0 to 1.5 hours. Some cases may not be suitable for mediation.
- It is helpful to have full exchange of information or documents in advance of a mediation meeting.
- Unlike commercial, business or labour mediations where I set aside a day for the main mediation meeting, family mediations generally involve a number of two-hour sessions. The sessions are kept short to ensure that the process remains productive. There may be homework between sessions.
- Parties may bring their lawyers to a mediation session.
- The mediation process is voluntary and either party is free to withdraw from the process. Unlike arbitration or med-arbitration, the mediator does not impose a result of the parties.
- The mediator will meet with both parties together and may meet with each party in private.
- Mediation is generally a confidential process except that a mediator cannot retain confidentiality about child protection concerns or threats to the physical safety of others.
- The mediator will use information provided by a party in a private session to assist the process to move forward, unless the party specifically identifies what should remain confidential.
- If the process is successful the parties will be encouraged to obtain advice from a lawyer of their choice to obtain independent legal advice about the agreements reached, or to incorporate the issues settled into a written separation agreement.
- If the mediation involves issues about children – guardianship, the parties must take only the best interests of the child into account in making their agreement.
- Mediation can be a cost-effective method of resolving disputes. Most people who enter into the litigation process spend large amounts on legal fees. Results at mediation can be obtained at a fraction of the cost of litigation. Mediation fees are calculated at $300 per hour, plus taxes, plus any disbursements. Each party is responsible to pay ½ of the mediator’s fees and any applicable taxes. I will require a retainer from each party before the start of the process.
- I can accommodate smaller meetings at my offices. I often use board rooms in hotels or other lawyer’s offices. I travel when requested to provide services. I also have video conferencing services to assist parties who are not resident in Campbell River.
Paul Love is a trained mediator and arbitrator, who is also a lawyer. He is designated as a Family Law Mediator and Family Law Arbitrator by the Law Society of British Columbia. His services are limited to acting as a neutral and does not act as a lawyer in family law, separation or divorce matters.