Family mediation is a dispute resolution process in which a trained mediator helps facilitate and direct communication between the parties of a dispute to resolve a variety of family law issues. The process aims to reduce conflict whenever possible, keeping each party focused on identifying solutions. Family mediation can be an excellent alternative for many people looking to avoid the time and expense often associated with traditional litigation. It offers participants a forum to resolve their outstanding family law issues while enabling them to retain more control over the process.
At Mincher Koeman in Calgary, our team of family lawyers has long provided representation for clients in mediation and arbitration, helping to guide them through both processes while ensuring they reach the most favourable possible outcome. In addition to representing clients, our firm is proud to also offer family mediator services. Partner Andrew Koeman is a trained and accredited family mediator and lawyer with a practice dedicated exclusively to family law. Andrew works with parties to identify and implement effective and fair solutions for a variety of family law matters. Andrew strives to manage the mediation process with an eye to encouraging productive communication between the parties, knowing that for many of his clients, long-term collaboration will be necessary, particularly when shared parenting will be an ongoing issue.
In litigation or arbitration, there is a decision-maker who will ultimately decide how the parties will resolve their issues. Once the decision is made, it is binding on all parties unless one or both parties bring a successful appeal. Mediation, by contrast, allows the participants to find their own solutions and come to terms themselves, rather than having a decision imposed on them. This can allow for greater creativity and out-of-the-box thinking when a family is determining what will work best for them.
In addition to the outcome, parties also have greater control over the process itself. Rather than being beholden to a busy and often bottlenecked court schedule, families can schedule mediation sessions when it’s convenient for them. Further, mediation can be customized to account for different geographic locations by allowing for remote participation using video-conferencing technology.
Even when the parties are in the same general location, there may be reasons why they wish to participate separately. In high-conflict situations, for example, parties can join from separate locations, or even communicate through the mediator by holding separate meetings. This can be especially helpful in situations involving imbalanced power dynamics or concerns about family violence.
Family disputes often require parties to discuss a number of personal details, and the final judgment in a court hearing is commonly a matter of public record. In addition, courtrooms are public forums, allowing strangers to sit in on hearings which address highly personal information. In contrast, mediation is a private and confidential resolution process, allowing families to keep the details of their final agreement, and the discussions leading up to it, out of the public view.
Since mediation is more informal than litigation, participants can often avoid or consolidate many of the mandatory steps that would ordinarily be required in the lead-up to a trial, which saves time as well as legal fees. Further, the parties have greater control over the scheduling of mediation sessions, which often allows them to complete the process much more quickly than they would in court.
The mediation process is much more simplified and straightforward than a trial. The process is also highly customizable, so it may not look the same in each case, however, there are some basic steps you can expect when entering family mediation.
Andrew Koeman is an experienced family law lawyer and accredited mediator, dedicated to helping families find workable and productive solutions through mediation. Andrew understands that the participants will often need to remain in contact well after mediation is over, and so he strives to reduce conflict and encourage collaboration throughout the process. To schedule a mediation consultation with Andrew at Mincher Koeman in Calgary, contact our office at 403-910-3000 or reach out online.
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