Every year, hundreds of B.C. residents get divorced without ever going to court.
It only makes sense. Why would anyone choose to spend tens of thousands of dollars in order to fight, in public? Especially when the only possible outcome is that they will be told what to do by a busy judge with little time and a full docket?
No surprise, then, that divorce mediation is increasingly the most popular, practical and cost-effective way to get a divorce in B.C., especially in the Vancouver region.
Our busy courtrooms are no place for families, separating or not, and divorce mediation is an out-of-court solution that gives the parties control over the process and the result.
This article explains what divorce mediation is, how it works, what it typically costs, and the FC&Z approach to resolving family law conflicts through mediation. But first, a little about us.
FC&Z offers divorce mediation and family law mediation in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.
Our experienced mediators work with separating couples to craft a settlement that is practical, future-focused and legally sound. Divorce mediation with FC&Z is a solution-oriented, collaborative process designed to help each person move forward.
What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process outside of court that results in a binding separation agreement setting out the terms of your divorce. In a divorce mediation, a certified mediator (usually an experienced family lawyer) will meet with you and your former partner or spouse and develop a customized agreement that works for both of you.
For most separating couples, the divorce mediation process focuses on:
- the parenting arrangements for any children (including custody),
- a fair division of property and debts,
- spousal and child support, and
- any other issues that need to be resolved in order for the parties to move forward.
Divorce mediation involves negotiation and collaboration between the parties. It can be difficult for people to to talk to each other, let alone negotiate in good faith, in the aftermath of a separation.
That's why mediation works. A divorce mediator can help overcome tensions and bad feeling that may stand in the way of a fair and reasonable solution.
A divorce mediator should also be an experienced lawyer capable of explaining how the law applies to each situation. Most couples are able to reach an agreement with the help of a mediator who can guide the process, minimize conflict and tension, and explain the law.
Why Choose Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is, quite simply, the most effective, affordable, and fastest solution for the vast majority of separating families.
By working together to reach an agreement with the help of the mediator, you can resolve your conflict without risking an imposed Order of the Court that may not work for either of you. You and your former partner or spouse will have a confidential, neutral area to voice concerns and expectations, which will allow the two of you to begin working together to reduce the conflict and focus on resolution.
Mediation can deliver results at substantially less cost and without the additional conflict and stress that often results from the adversarial and combative dynamics of the court system.
Here's a short list of the top reasons to choose divorce mediation instead of court:
- A Customized Solution – The ability to be creative and work together to come up with a solution that works best for you instead of being confined by the strict application of the law.
- Maintain Control – In mediation the parties themselves maintain control over how their dispute is resolved instead of a result being imposed upon them by a justice in court, or by an arbitrator.
- Fast – Mediation provides the ability to resolve a dispute quickly, in a matter of hours or weeks instead of the months and years it takes to get through a court trial.
- Affordable - Mediation is vastly less expensive than litigation.
- Confidential – Mediation sessions are private. Litigation involves public court appearances and the filing of documentation that is a matter of public record, accessible by anyone.
- Promotes Amicability – Mediation involves learning and practicing skills to improve communication and diminish conflict. This promotes the preservation of relationships, which can be invaluable to parties that will be co-parenting for years to come. In stark contrast, litigation is, by its very nature, adversarial. Parties often resort to giving evidence outlining the opposing parties’ negative characteristics and damaging history in order to win. The very nature of traditional litigation divides, polarizes and promotes continued conflict.
- Protects Children from Conflict – Mediation promotes effective communication, cooperation and understanding, thereby reducing the conflict between parties and promoting an ability to effectively co-parent into the future.
- Consistency – In mediation parties meet with the same professional instead of whatever justice happens to be sitting in court on the various days court applications are scheduled.
- Compliance – Resolutions reached by agreement result in high compliance levels because both parties have said yes to the solution.
In the rare situation where mediation fails to result in an agreement, the process will still normally be worthwhile. Mediation should be able to resolve at least some of the outstanding issues and clarify what remains in dispute, leaving just one or two questions to be resolved by a judge.
This can save tens of thousands of dollars as compared to a trial in which all issues are contested.
Thousands of divorcing couples choose divorce mediation to minimize conflict, minimize cost, find practical solutions, and move forward. It works for straightforward amicable separations, and acrimonious, emotional splits. We have the experience to help make this process work for you.
The Divorce Mediation Process
FC&Z divorce mediation is a flexible, collaborative process tailored to your needs. We offer lawyer-assisted (each party attends with their own lawyer) and lawyer-unassisted (neither party attends with a lawyer) mediation services. Our rates are flexible and we have flat-rate options available upon request.
Our Certified Mediators have decades of combined experience in family law and can assist parties through any family law issue they may have, from child and spousal support through to high-conflict parenting disputes and complex property distribution. We ensure each party understands the law as it applies to their situation, and work to identify practical solutions and a path forward.
Divorce mediation is an ideal process for separating couples who want a separation agreement without the time and expense associated with the traditional adversarial process and costly court appearances. Unlike a busy Supreme Court judge, our mediators can take as much time as needed to understand your family's situation and will work with you to craft a solution appropriate to your specific circumstances.
If you are looking for a cost-effective, controlled, and efficient way to resolve disputes between you and your former spouse or partner, contact FC&Z Family Lawyers to discuss whether mediation is right for you.
Vancouver Divorce Mediators
FC&Z has one of Western Canada's largest divorce mediation practices. In the Vancouver region Brett Carlson is a Certified Mediator with extensive mediation experience. Brett works with families throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
Brett Carlson, Certified Mediator (Family Law & Divorce)
Brett Carlson is an Partner with FC&Z. He has a background in psychology, making him a valuable mediator in high conflict parenting and support disputes and for lower income parties seeking lawyer-unassisted mediation services for a more cost-effective solution.
About FC&Z Family Lawyers
FC&Z Family Lawyers is a boutique family law firm in both Vancouver and Calgary offering a full range of family law representation, from negotiation and mediation to court representation. Heather and Brett offer mediation services in both locations.