Divorce or separation is a difficult and emotional process that can be made easier with the help of a mediator. A mediator is a neutral third party who helps couples resolve their disputes and reach agreements on issues such as property division, child custody (also known as decision-making responsibility), and spousal support. In Ontario, mediation is often used in family law cases, and it is an effective way to avoid the time and expense of going to court. In this article, we will discuss the role of a mediator in a divorce in Ontario according to Divorce Act.
1. Help Couples Communicate Effectively
The role of a mediator in helping couples communicate effectively cannot be overstated. Divorce is an emotionally charged process that can quickly lead to breakdowns in communication. A mediator is trained to help couples communicate effectively and respectfully, even in difficult situations. The mediator will encourage the parties to listen actively to each other and to express their needs and concerns in a constructive way. Effective communication is essential to the success of mediation.
2. Identify Issues to Be Resolved
Another critical role of a mediator is to identify the issues that need to be resolved. In a divorce, there are many issues that must be addressed, including property division, child custody, and child support. The mediator will work with the parties to create an agenda of the issues that need to be addressed. This agenda will serve as the framework for the mediation sessions.
3. Facilitate Negotiations
Once the issues have been identified, the mediator will facilitate negotiations between the parties. The mediator will help the parties to explore different options for resolving the issues and to find a solution that works for both parties. The mediator will encourage the parties to be creative and to think outside the box. The mediator will also help the parties to identify common interests and to focus on finding a solution that benefits both parties.
4. Provide Information
A mediator can also provide information to the parties about the legal process and the options available to them. This can help the parties make informed decisions about their future. For example, the mediator may explain how the court would likely handle a particular issue or provide information about the different types of child custody and access arrangements that are available.
5. Draft Agreements
Once the parties have reached an agreement, the mediator will draft a separation agreement that outlines the terms of the agreement. The agreement will be based on the issues identified in the agenda and will be tailored to the specific needs of the parties. The agreement is not legally binding, but it can be used as the basis for a legally binding agreement.
6. Reduce Time and Expense
One of the most significant benefits of mediation is that it can reduce the time and expense of going to court. Mediation is often less expensive than going to court, and it can be completed more quickly. This is because the parties have more control over the process and can work at their own pace. Mediation also allows the parties to avoid the stress and uncertainty of going to court.
In conclusion, a mediator plays an essential role in a divorce in Ontario. A mediator helps couples communicate effectively, identify the issues to be resolved, facilitate negotiations, provide information, draft agreements, and reduce the time and expense of going to court. If you are going through a divorce, it is essential to consider the benefits of mediation and to choose a skilled and experienced mediator who can help you navigate the process. We can help you find a mediator and ensure that your legal rights are protected.