The advantages of mediation cannot be overstated. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process facilitated by a neutral third party, called a mediator. While mediation does not take the place of legal advice from a Toronto divorce lawyer, it may aid parties to identify the core issues and to find mutually agreeable solutions. The role of a family mediator is to assist the parties to reach a fair settlement that is in the best interest of all the parties involved.

Mediation has been found to produce more durable outcomes, higher levels of mutual satisfaction and to decrease the likelihood of further conflict.

There are a number of benefits to choosing mediation over litigation.

1. Mediation is voluntary; it is not a mandatory process for family law matters.

Parties are free to leave mediation at any time, if one or both the spouses feel it is no longer the ideal resolution process. The separated spouses have significant control over the course of action, which may be further aided by a Toronto divorce lawyer. The particular issues at hands and relationship between the parties will shape and guide the mediation without the strict barriers of courtroom procedure. Moreover, there are no penalties for unsuccessful mediation.

2. Mediation keeps the power in the hands of the parties.

A sense of control and power are crucial to one’s well being during a tumultuous time such as divorce and separation. Participating in mediation ensures that your voice is heard and valued. The experience of asserting power and expressing one’s concerns may be cathartic and psychologically beneficial. Additionally, each individual party is the best authority upon his or her best interest. Thus mediation allows the parties to work out their own solution.

3. Mediation keeps the focus on a common interest: The best interests of the children.

If children are involved, their best advocates are likely the parental parties.  The level of escalated conflict that is often characteristic of litigation may create a detached, impersonal and adversarial atmosphere. In such an environment, the emphasis is shifted from a common ground to a win-or-lose scenario. This process may elicit and affirm feelings of competition, distrust and discord. Such feelings are unproductive in meeting the needs of the children and are a barrier to the creation of fair parenting arrangements. Mediation encourages collaboration and creative problem solving. The spirit of cooperation created through mediation will aid in arranging new family dynamics and responsibilities.

4. Mediation encourages open communication and problem solving.

While a Toronto divorce lawyer is an expert liaison between disputant parties and his or her representation, mediation can aid the parties themselves to engage in positive and productive communication. Creating a template of cooperative contact will bode well for any future interactions. Particularly when there are children involved, one must keep in mind the prospective dynamic between parents. One of the aims of mediation is independent problem solving. Such a skill will prove mutually beneficial to all the parties involved, and will provide each party with a greater sense of autonomy and power.

5. Mediation may be less costly and more private than court.

A Toronto divorce lawyer will advise you to keep your conflict out of court. During the court process, it is easy for either party to run up costs for the other; relations become more acrimonious; and the dispute becomes one defined by victory and defeat. Mediation on the other hand is significantly less costly and less formal. Parties are encouraged to become casual collaborators, not stiff adversaries. Furthermore, mediation is a private process. Family matters are uniquely personal and private. Taking a divorce matter into court will bring an intimate issue into the public sphere. It is often to the benefit of both parties to keep the details of their divorce as protected as possible, thus making mediation an excellent alternative.