Many people are unaware they can obtain a divorce or separation outside of a courtroom. Mediation empowers individuals to negotiate family matters themselves without a judge making their most important life decisions for them.
Mediation without litigation nurtures a better post-mediation relationship among family members. Mediation is a more dignified means of helping families resolve their differences without the adversarial approach of the court system.
The mediation process is less expensive, formal, stressful, intrusive and more efficient than the courts. Closed mediation sessions are completely voluntary. Either party can stop without future consequences if they feel the process is not meeting their needs.
In closed mediation sessions nothing said can be used later in court and a mediator cannot be summoned to testify. The mediation process can help resolve family matters more efficiently and less expensively than litigation.
If you are already seeking divorce through the courts mediation is an option up until a judge has made a final decision.
The first step in mediation is to meet individually and sign a contract to mediate. The mediator will assess imbalances of power and safety considerations that could hinder the mediation process. This is an opportunity to express views, goals and children's concerns without the other party present. Child custody, child access, division of assets, spousal support or other matters can be discussed before meeting together.
In some circumstances it may be necessary for the mediator to act as a go between.
When a mutually satisfactory agreement is reached a memorandum of understanding is drafted by the mediator. After consulting respective lawyers for a final review the memorandum is signed, becomes legally binding and is a matter of public record.
Cindy McAfee is a counsellor at Balanced Life Therapy at 27 Gowan St. in Barrie Ontario offering counselling services from a Christian perspective to those interested.
Cindy has assisted teens, individuals and couples dealing with a range of life challenges including emotional and psychological issues, sexual and spousal abuse, and drug and alcohol addiction.
Cindy has helped her therapy clients overcome the feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety, depression and powerlessness often associated with divorce. This gives Cindy unique insight into how stress can affect making wise family decisions during what is often the most emotionally challenging time in a person's life.
Cindy works with other therapists to support clients interested in exploring their emotional feelings around divorce and separation. Through the mediation process Cindy collaborates with other professionals such as lawyers, forensic accountants and investigators to ensure all parties' needs are met as well as possible.
Cindy uses Solution-Focused Therapy in her family counselling practice which is beneficial in helping people resolve mediation matters. By balancing needs of divorcing couples with a children-first focus, Cindy works with her clients to level the playing field and arrive at the best, most equitable outcome possible for all individuals concerned.