Mediation is a process that helps separating couples resolve their differences in a way that works best for them while ensuring their legal rights and obligations are understood and respected. Unlike a rigid court process, mediation is flexible. It allows you to decide the best way for you and your family to move forward through separation and helps you communicate with each other to address the difficult issues that you may be struggling to resolve on your own.
Mediation is efficient and cost-effective. Many people do not want to engage lawyers to obtain a separation agreement, often because they are afraid that negotiating through lawyers will be expensive and take a long time. But some people do not feel confident enough to negotiate an agreement without some support or guidance. Mediation can address both of those concerns. A mediator is an objective third party who will help you identify your property, parenting and support issues, and then facilitate the discussion about those issues, so that you can reach an agreement in typically only 2 to 4 meetings.
Every family is different. You may reach an agreement on some issues easily, but others may be more complicated. Family mediators are familiar with the challenges separating couples face and are able to suggest alternative solutions and give you options. A mediator can help you to find creative solutions that work for both you and your family.
And if you feel that you need legal advice through the mediation process, you can engage a lawyer to give you that advice or even attend the mediation sessions with you. Either way, you can decide how much support you need and when you need it.
Once you have reached an agreement on the issues, you will need to engage a lawyer to prepare a legally binding and enforceable Separation Agreement. But the bulk of the work will have to be done through the mediation process, which should save you time and money.
There are other processes you can use to obtain your separation agreement. But mediation ensures that you are addressing all of the important issues, with the support of a professional, and in a way that will keep the lines of communication flowing efficiently, which helps to keep your costs down.