Family mediation services provide a way for people to work out arrangements for property, children and other issues that may arise when a family separates or divorces. It is a less expensive, quicker and less stressful option than going to court.
Mediators are specially trained to listen to a wide range of opinions and needs, helping participants find a solution that fits their situation. They will also help the family develop interpersonal communication skills so they can resolve conflicts on their own in future.
It is not unusual for a family that enters a mediation session embroiled in extreme tension to leave the session with logistical agreements in place and the ability to communicate respectfully in the future. It can even be the start of a new kind of relationship.
The Family Mediation Program allows married or unmarried parents of minor children, grandparents and other relatives who are involved in a legal separation or a divorce to meet with a family mediator for free sessions to help them resolve their differences without going to court. Unlike arbitration, family mediation is a confidential process.
Family mediation is not a substitute for having your lawyer represent you, but it can be a good way to settle some of your issues before filing your legal separation or divorce papers. The first step is a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) with a qualified family mediator to determine whether mediation could be a useful alternative to a court proceeding.