Kingston Mediation| Family & Divorce Mediators | Lawyers
Our affordable family mediators can help you resolve your legal issues including custody and access, spousal support, property division, and any other issues which you may have. We are conveniently located at 159 Wellington Street, on the corner of Brock and Wellington, in downtown Kingston. Same week appointments are available.
Call us at 613-453-2275, to schedule a consultation.
Mediators are neutral third parties. They meet with your and your former partner, in order to take charge of negotiations and help you come to an out of court agreement. Qualified family mediators know family law and keep you focused on the legal issues that are relevant to your situation. They provide you with the legal information you need to know, and use their expertise to guide you, in order to help you come to an out of court agreement. Your agreements can be entered into a legally binding contract called a Separation Agreement or Parenting Plan once you receive independent legal advice.
Our Kingston mediation services are offered in Kingston, only. Our Kingston family mediators are also licenced lawyers who specialize in family law.
Affordable Family Mediation
Mediation provide an affordable method of resolving the legal issues of your divorce or separation because:
- A mediator’s fees are shared by both parties.
- Mediation involves far fewer hours than court. Court procedures are extensive and you need to have procedural meetings, fill in procedural forms, and follow procedures in order to have your case heard.
- Mediation is not concerned with evidence. When you litigate your legal issues in court, you must be very careful to have the proper evidence to convince a judge to side with your story. In mediation, you don’t need to concern yourself with proving your case to your mediator. You only need to convince your former partner to agree to an issue. as you do not need to fill in procedural forms and attend procedural meetings.
- You do not need to make submissions or arguments in mediation, as you would in front of a judge. There is far less preparation time involved.
- You do not need to draft court forms in mediation, which need to be written carefully and precisely.
Mediation is predictable. When you go to court, you always face uncertainty concerning how the judge may decide your case. Both factual and legal issues will be in dispute in court. When judges piece together what went on in your relationship, they can believe your story, or your former partner’s. They can also disbelieve both your stories, or believe something in between. They can even grant legal remedies which neither party asked for. Both parties can leave court unhappy with the judge’s decision. This rarely happens in mediation.
Mediated agreements are created willingly. Nothing is forced on you. You know what you want, what you can live with, what’s reasonable, and what’s sensible. In mediation, you can predict what you will agree to, and what you will disagree with.
If You Have Children
Mediation is particularly useful if you have children and wish to maintain a working relationship with the other parent. When you opt to pursue your family law matter in court, you introduce an institutionalized and impersonal process to intervene and resolve the situation. It is much easier to maintain a working relationship with each other when you choose to involve yourselves in the resolution of your family law issues. Please note that collaborative family law would also achieve this objective.
Our Family Mediators
Our family mediators and divorce mediators are located in Kingston. Our family mediators resolves all aspects of divorce including: custody and access, child and spousal support, and matrimonial property division.
Our Mediation Style.
Our family mediators are directive and our mediation process is focused on settlement. We provide you with legal information and direction in order to help you discuss your legal issues and come to an agreement. We guide you through all of the applicable financial and parenting issues. We are forward thinking mediators who strive to efficiently solve the problems which your family faces. This includes: custody and access, parenting plans, child support, spousal support and matrimonial property division. Our divorce mediators resolve all financial and parenting issues. Our divorce mediators are fast. We are not overbooked like the courts and we are available evenings and weekends. Our philosophy is to get families to privately resolve their legal dispute out of court in a timely manner. We believe that mediation will leave you with greater satisfaction over your divorce than will court.
Our family mediation process looks like this:
1. Both parties will meet for a consultation.
2. Both partners sign an agreement to begin mediation.
3. We mediate all the issues. We record all your agreements in a memorandum after each session.
4. You then turn your agreements into a legally binding contract by receiving independent legal advice from a lawyer. This ensures that you are fully informed of your legal rights and what you are agreeing to.
Our mediators are also licenced lawyers. When you hire one of our lawyers to act as your mediator, they cease to occupy their lawyer role and they do not provide you with any legal advice, only legal information. Lawyers normally work for only one party and take sides. Mediators, in contrast, are hired by both parties and must remain impartial. They cannot take sides and therefore cannot provide you with legal advice or act as your lawyer.
All our meditations are closed, meaning that all discussions in the mediation are confidential. We do not write reports nor testify for any party in court. We respect your privacy. We keep your family affairs and finances private and we don’t judge.
We are neutral third parties who don’t take sides in your mediation. You have the liberty to form agreements amongst yourselves. This increases your control over the outcome of your divorce. Participation in the mediation is entirely voluntary. Either party can choose to end the mediation at any point.
Independent Legal Advice
Once an agreement is reached in mediation, you must obtain independent legal advice from a family lawyer to certify that you are making an appropriate agreement.
Mediators in Ontario
Divorce mediators in Ontario can be certified by either Family Mediation Canada (FMC), the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute (ADR Institute), or the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM). Many mediators are not certified by any of these bodies, but have their own expertise. For example, lawyers and psychologists can be mediators. Family mediators can be trained in family law, family mediation, child education, child development, family therapy, psychology, or in other mental health and financial fields.
FMC has the fewest mediators, however, it also has the most demanding standards. The ADR Institute supports professionals who resolve any kind of legal dispute outside of court, using some method of alternative dispute resolution. The Ontario Association for Family Mediation is for ADR practitioners of only family and divorce law.
Mediation is very popular in Toronto and many lawyers offer mediation services. It is less popular in Kingston. In Kingston, mediation is used on occasion, but the far more common option is Collaborative Family Law
Divorce mediation provides most families with a cost-effective option to resolve their divorce or separation. Divorce Mediation can resolve all legal aspects of a divorce including parenting and financial aspects of divorce. If you were married, you would still need to apply to the court to be granted a divorce.
Divorce mediation can be used by both married and common law couples. The issues which can be addressed in family mediation include: child custody and access, parenting plans, child support, spousal support and matrimonial property division.
Family Mediation can help you resolve your divorce or separation affordably and expediently. It is often, though not always a quicker alternative to court. It often provides more satisfactory outcomes to both parties than court does. It can also be used in conjunction with the court process for some or all of the issues in dispute.
Often parties commence court proceedings and attempt mediation after putting the court proceedings on hold. There is a danger in trying mediation without applying to the court. If you later need the court to become involved, then you will start at the very beginning of the court proceedings and will have to wait some time before you can rely on the court for most family law remedies. Therefore, in attempting mediation, it is important to consider whether or not it would be prudent to also initiate proceedings formally in the court.
Many divorce and family mediators disapprove of the court process as being an entirely combative process, but this is not the case. The court process should not be confused with trial – the vast majority of cases do not reach trial. Court does encourage settlement of the litigants in divorce proceedings. Judges encourage the required full financial disclosure and also help parties identify issues in dispute, issues in agreement, and encourage them to make settlement offers. Starting proceedings helps to get the ball rolling, even if you intend to resolve most of your issues out of court and in mediation. A family lawyer or divorce lawyer can advise you on how to best proceed in your case.
Please note, there is generally no difference between family and divorce mediation. Adoption, Child Protection, Fertility Law, and Prenups are some areas that are family-centric rather than divorce-centric, but otherwise divorce and family law are the same.
We are a family law firm. We act as legal counsel for parties who participate in mediation and also provide independent legal advice concerning mediated agreements, parenting plans, separation agreements, and domestic contracts. Our lawyers can also be hired to act as mediators. When two parties hire one of our family lawyers to be your mediator, that lawyer becomes a mediator only and does not provide either of you with legal advice.
Choosing a Mediator for Parenting Issues
When choosing a divorce mediator, we recommend ones with expertise in childhood development for parenting issues – choose a psychologists or psychologist. Social workers are acceptable if you have a low budget, but their training is lacklustre in comparison to the aforementioned professions. You should be mindful of the school and program that your family mediator enrolled in as there are vast differences between school and programs in the mental health disciplines. You must understand that your divorce mediator can never provide you with legal advice. They cannot ethically have your interests at heart as they must be neutral between parties. Therefore it is advisable to get legal advice to ensure that you know your rights and that you don’t make stupid decisions such as leaving the matrimonial home (there are circumstances where this may be advisable) if you have children living there, or agreeing to and setting an interim parenting schedule which will limit your right to access in the future.
Choosing a Financial Family Mediator for Financial Issues
For financial issues you should look for a family mediator who has legal training. We have seen cases where parties have been screwed for tens of thousands of dollars due to the ignorance of their financial mediator. The mathematical aspects of family law are not particularly difficult. Completing highschool level math is sufficient. However, a financial mediator needs to know which financial information to obtain from clients, must know that complete financial disclosure is a necessity for mediating financial issues, and needs to know case law so that the mediator helps you arrive at an agreement that is close to what you would get in court, only faster and cheaper. If your family mediator is ignorant of the law, but good in math, they will make mistakes that cost you and produce an agreement which is inconsistent with your legal rights.
Mediation works like this
You disagree on legal issues, so you go to a mediator who helps you find agreement on some or all of those legal issues. You can break down most issues into one of two categories, parenting or financial. These agreements are then entered into a legally binding contract. Once you sign that agreement, you have a legally binding contract. You can obtain independent legal advice to make the contract even more final and enforceable and to ensure that you are agreeing to something that is consistent with your legal rights.
Mediation is considered expedient. Court entails formal rules and procedures, lengthy time frames and numerous temporary hearings. Divorce mediation isn’t primarily concerned with evidence, detective work or judge imposed decisions. Its focus is settlement conversations and having the power to initiate agreements in shorter time frames.
On the other hand, mediation cannot offer fast solutions where parties cannot agree – only court or arbitration can do this. Additionally, mediation cannot work where one party is unreasonable, vindictive, stalling, or using the process for some reason other than achieving resolution. Other limitations of mediation were identified earlier in this article.
A judge does not enforce a decision upon you in mediation. You aren’t forced to comply with the decision of a third party. Out of court options allow you to have a greater voice and say in the ultimate decision. You will never agree to something in divorce mediation that you find objectionable or unfair.
The courts allow you to fight for legally correct results which comply with formal rules, procedures and timelines. This includes temporary hearings to resolve emergency matters, court conferences, questioning, and other things before the trial date. You will have to write legal documents for every court appearance. Going to court is expensive and it will cost you in time, money and stress whether you win or lose. If mediation is successful in resolving all of your legal issues, then you can avoid all of this. However, there is the aforementioned caveat – if mediation fails, then you will wish that you started court proceedings sooner.
Provided that you can reach agreement on all the legal issues in dispute, mediation provides a faster solution at a lower cost than going to court. You don’t have to convince a mediator of anything. Mediation is about focused settlement conversations which result in agreements which can be turned into a legally binding separation agreement or parenting plan after obtaining independent legal advice. You do not have to comply with any formal rules of evidence or civil procedure.
Finally, if you go to court, the judge’s decision will be made publicly available, revealing explicit details of your relationship, income, assets, debts, and your ability to parent your children. Out of court allow you to privately resolve your divorce the way you want at an affordable price.