There are many routes to resolving the issues arising from the breakdown of a marriage.
Taking your ex to court, contrary to popular belief, is the least preferred route. Court proceedings are public, time consuming and rather expensive. Instead, couples are more likely to negotiate a separation agreement themselves through an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. The most common method for resolving disputes is through mediation.
At Gelman & Associates, Paul D. Slan, one of our most senior lawyers, has been mediating family law disputes for more than 40 years. His experience and knowledge of the Ontario family law system allows him to guide spouses towards a fair and balanced settlement of their family-related issues through mediation, without resorting to the traditional court system.
The mediation process is a form of alternative dispute resolution, that assists you and your spouse in reaching a mutually satisfactory settlement with the help of a neutral, third-party called a mediator. Mediators can be lawyers, mental health professionals, clergy, or other professionals trained in alternative dispute resolution techniques. They can help you resolve issues related to family law such as property division, spousal support, and custody.
There are two types of mediation: open and closed. A closed mediation is confidential and the discussions within the mediation cannot be used as evidence if the matter goes to court. An open mediation is not confidential. The mediator may even prepare a report after the mediation that could help a judge later on. You and your spouse can decide on whether the mediation should be open or closed before you start the proceedings and include that decision in a mediation agreement.
Mediators cannot give either of you or your spouse legal advice, despite the fact that the mediator might be a lawyer. They are not a substitute for having your own independent legal counsel. The mediator’s role is to help you and your spouse communicate with one another and reach agreement on issues in dispute, while your lawyer’s role is to make sure your legal rights are protected.
Once there is agreement on all outstanding issues, the mediator will record them all in a Memorandum of Understanding, which will then need to be reviewed by each spouses’ independent lawyer.
Once reviewed by your lawyer and the terms are deemed acceptable to both parties, your lawyer or your spouse’s lawyer will draft a legally binding separation agreement that reflects the terms of the mediated settlement.
Contact Gelman & Associates to learn how mediation can help you and your spouse resolve your family law issues in a cost-effective and low-conflict manner. Serving six offices throughout Aurora, Barrie, Downtown Toronto, Mississauga, North York and Scarborough, our offices are easily accessible by transit and off-highway. Our phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 8 PM. Call us at (416) 736-0200 or 1-844-736-0200 or contact us online for an initial consultation.
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