It is possible to get a divorce in Victoria without ever stepping foot in a courtroom.
Divorce is a legal process that must involve a judge signing the decree but this can often be arranged without a court appearance from either spouse.
Even if there are contested matters, most of these can be settled out of court before the case ever reaches a judge. This can save a lot of the stress, expense, and delays that divorce proceedings are notorious for.
The overworked family law system in BC prefers to avoid litigation and encourages mediation, arbitration, and collaboration to settle disputes.
Divorce mediation is a viable option for most couples who are on reasonable terms.
The experienced divorce mediators at Jennings Family Law provide a practical, non-adversarial, cost-effective way to reach a separation agreement so that you and your ex can move on with your lives as soon as possible.
Divorce mediation is known as an “alternative dispute resolution” method.
Mediation aims to resolve differences between parties in any major dispute. In the context of a divorce, the main disputed matters are generally:
The divorce mediation process attempts to guide two spouses towards a legally binding separation agreement that sets out all of the terms of your divorce.
You remain in control of the final decision-making process but if you both sign the agreement, you effectively agree to abide by its terms.
As you may imagine, it is very important for the mediator you select to be independent, impartial, and skilled in the mediation process.
An experienced professional must understand all the main issues in a divorce, taking the emotions out of the situation and guiding disputing spouses towards a resolution.
It can be a challenge to remove the emotions from discussions with tensions running high during a separation. A divorce mediator is skilled at bringing outstanding issues into the open and facilitating respectful negotiation and collaboration between partners.
In Victoria, divorce mediators are often senior lawyers (like at Jennings family law) or retired judges.
We remain strictly neutral and are acutely aware of the relevant laws and well-qualified in mediating difficult situations and explaining the consequences of decisions made.
This gives you a good chance of a successful outcome.
Note that once a mediator has been hired, this person cannot represent either you or your spouse in litigation if no agreement is reached.
However, you may both hire collaboration or mediation lawyers to speak to the mediator and represent your best interests when seeking an agreement.
For most separating spouses, litigation is not a desirable outcome. The courtroom is no place for families to discuss how to move forward with their lives.
Divorce mediation is an attractive alternative option for couples who are on speaking terms and want to maintain cordial relations as they settle their disagreements. This is especially so when children are involved and parents need to maintain a relationship after the divorce.
The many benefits of mediation include:
If you and your spouse cannot work things out around the kitchen table, mediation is often the next best step.
Even if it can help you resolve some of the outstanding issues, you will generally save time and expense.
However, it is not for everyone.
Mediation is sometimes not possible and, instead, an independent judge or arbitrator may be required to decide matters.
Mediation is probably not for you if some or all of the following apply:
If none of these apply, divorce mediation may be the most affordable, quickest, and most effective solution to resolve disputes between you and your spouse.
Mediation works best when you and your spouse are well-prepared. You can rest assured that your mediator will be prepared. Several sessions may be required to reach an agreement, though this depends on the number and complexity of outstanding issues. You may or may not have a divorce lawyer representing you in these sessions.
The first session is very important and will set the tone for further meetings if necessary. Your mediator may meet with you and your spouse separately at first and then together.
You can prepare for this by:
At Jennings Family Law, our divorce lawyers and mediators are committed to helping you achieve a prompt and cost-effective agreement with your spouse.
Contact us today for a confidential consultation and case evaluation.