Divorce Mediation

Divorce Mediation Lawyers in Calgary, Alberta

Couple Attending a Calgary Divorce Mediation

If you go through a divorce in Calgary, you will need to attempt to reach an agreement with your spouse on key aspects such as property and asset division, spousal support, child custody, child support, etc.

There are generally four different ways to achieve this:

  • Collaboration between you and your respective lawyers
  • Divorce mediation by hiring a professional mediator
  • Arbitration by hiring a professional arbitrator
  • Litigation through the Calgary court system

While divorce is often portrayed as a bitter and adversarial process, there is no reason why you need to end up in a court battle.

Divorce mediation is often a beneficial way to settle your differences as a couple so that you can both move on and live the rest of your lives.

Learn More → Essential Guide to Alberta Divorce Mediation & Arbitration

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What is divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation is a process by which a professional and independent mediator guides a couple towards a separation agreement.

Even couples who seem far apart in their expectations can, with the help of a skilled mediator, come to an agreement that is mutually beneficial.

Unlike litigation, there is no winner and loser. The aim of the process is for both partners to achieve positives from the outcome facilitated by the mediator.

The disputed areas are usually the following:

  • Property, asset, and debt division
  • Spousal support
  • Child custody and visitation rights
  • Child support

Although you may not hear about divorce mediation as much as litigation or collaboration between opposing lawyers, mediation is a preferred way to settle divorces by many judges and lawyers, as well as the couples themselves.

Canadian law even states that lawyers must inform their clients about the option of divorce mediation to avoid unnecessary litigation.

Learn More >> Mediation in Alberta: 18 things You Can’t Get in Court

What are the benefits of divorce mediation? 

There are major benefits to divorce mediation, especially when compared to litigation:

  • You stay in charge of the decision-making process (rather than a judge making decisions)
  • Relationships have a better chance of remaining amicable
  • You can speak your mind in an open environment and “on an even playing field”
  • It’s easier on the children than a long, drawn-out court battle
  • It’s quicker and less expensive than litigation
  • Agreements can go into great detail through a mediator
  • The process is non-adversarial
  • The decision-making process you learn can be used for other important life decisions
  • It is generally less stressful than litigation (better for your health)
  • Mediated agreements have a high compliance rate

If your mediator is also a divorce lawyer, their legal experience will also help you file the necessary documents with the court.

However, bear in mind that no mediator can give legal advice. Some couples, therefore, hire lawyers as well as a mediator.

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How long does divorce mediation usually take in Alberta?

Divorce mediation in Alberta typically varies in duration, depending on the complexity of the issues and the parties’ willingness to cooperate. On average, mediation can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The mediator facilitates discussions between the spouses to reach agreements on matters like property division, child custody, and support.

The focus on open communication and collaboration often helps expedite the process. However, the timeline is unique to each case. Consulting an experienced mediator or family lawyer can provide a clearer estimate of the timeframe for your specific situation.

Can mediation address child custody and support issues?

Yes, mediation can address child custody and support issues in Alberta. During divorce mediation, parents work with a trained mediator to reach agreements on child custody arrangements and child support payments. The mediator facilitates constructive discussions, helping parents consider the best interests of the child.

By working collaboratively, parties can create a customized parenting plan that addresses custody, visitation schedules, and decision-making responsibilities. Additionally, they can agree on fair and sustainable child support arrangements.

Mediation provides a more flexible and less adversarial approach, empowering parents to make decisions that work best for their family’s unique needs. However, consulting with a family lawyer or mediator is crucial to ensure compliance with Alberta’s laws and to protect the child’s best interests.

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What are the 5-steps to the divorce mediation process? 

The mediation process facilitated by our divorce mediators will follow a five-step strategy:

  • Introduction and setting of protocols

You are introduced to your mediator and the ground rules laid out so that you are both comfortable with the mediator, the protocols, and the process.

If the mediator has received prior information about the situation, he or she may make a general statement about the outstanding issues so that you are both clear on the overall goals.

  • Statement of the problem from both sides

This is the opportunity for you and your spouse to give your versions of the situation as you see it. 

Your spouse must remain silent while you are talking and vice versa.

  • Information gathering

The mediator needs the facts in order to address the disputed elements of your case. 

During this part of the process, evidence is presented to the mediator and he or she will ask questions to add understanding to the information provided and to uncover reasons and motives for your standpoints. 

  • Identifying the heart of the issue

Based on the facts provided and the opinion aired, the mediator will start to discuss what is the real crux of the matter.

  • Bargaining towards an agreement

This is where the skills of the mediator really come to the fore. 

Hypothetical solutions will be discussed and the mediator will use their experience to suggest creative ways to solve deadlocks. 

A proposed solution may be laid out, which you and your spouse may be asked to amend until it is acceptable to you both.

How long does a mediated divorce take?

The mediation process is no quick fix. 

It generally involves a series of meetings that may be spaced over a period of days or even weeks in order to find a resolution to every item in dispute.

If the mediator feels that no further progress can be made, the process may be halted and an alternative solution will need to be sought.

Your mediator may be one of our lawyers but you may also need to hire separate lawyers to resolve any outstanding issues collaboratively or through litigation.

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Who will pay for the mediator in an Alberta divorce? 

The cost of your divorce mediation will depend on:

  • The differences you need to resolve 
  • The complexity of these issues
  • The documents that need to be prepared

The costs are usually divided between you and your spouse, depending on the ability to pay.

Either way, divorce mediation is usually considerably less expensive than litigation.

What happens if we cannot reach an agreement through mediation?

If you cannot reach an agreement through mediation in Alberta, there are several options available. One common approach is to consider other alternative dispute resolution methods, such as collaborative law or arbitration. Alternatively, if mediation is mandated, you may be required to participate in further negotiation sessions.

If all attempts at resolution fail, litigation may be necessary. In this case, you would need to go to court, and a judge would make decisions on matters like property division, child custody, and support.

It’s essential to consult with Jennings Family Law to understand your rights and the best course of action for your specific situation.

Contact our divorce mediation lawyers today

Jennings Family Law’s initial consultation will help you decide if divorce mediation is suitable for your case.

Start the process by booking your consultation by calling (403) 316-0138 or email warren@jenningsfamilylaw.com

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