Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) where a professionally trained mediator helps people work out an agreement about issues related to separation or divorce, custody or access, neighbourhood disputes and other matters evolving as a result of a communication breakdown.
Mediators are trained professionals who work within the standards and code of practice set by their governing body. They come from a wide range of professions including social work, law, psychology, the financial industry and other backgrounds. They are neutral facilitators and do not give legal advice. Accredited mediators can be found on the Ontario Association for Family Mediation website or other ADR agencies with which mediators are affiliated.
Mediators are paid for the time they spend on each file; therefore, payment is due before meeting with each party. Each party is responsible for paying their half of the mediation fee unless the parties agree on other payment arrangements.
Anyone can withdraw from the mediation process at any time. However, you will not be given any documentation if the process was not fully completed.
A PC is a neutral third party who can help you and your former partner with disputes on matters relating to the children.
The goals of parenting coordination are twofold: first, to help you to figure out ways to work more successfully with your former partner; and second, to help keep you out of the courts. PCs minimize conflict by helping parents develop parenting and communication skills and by mediating disputes regarding existing parenting plans.
Most often, a PC is appointed by the court. However, families may decide to enter into a relationship with a parenting coordinator in order to have a process in place for resolving future issues.
If the mediation on a specific issue fails, the parties will empower the parenting coordinator to make a binding decision in the best interests of the children; this process is called arbitration. The PC will gather all relevant information from the parents and external sources and make a decision. It is important to note, however, that PCs cannot make decisions about legal matters, such as decision making (formerly known as custody), mobility, or parenting time (formerly known as access), other than those of a minor or temporary nature.
The costs of a PC vary by experience and are typically shared by the parties, unless there is a court order that states otherwise. Most PCs will charge a retainer and will deduct their time accordingly. A retainer can range from $2500–$5000 or more.
A PC’s help can be very valuable. It can help you avoid the costs, delays, and emotional turmoil involved in the litigation process, both by helping sort out an immediate dispute and by improving the parenting relationship to avoid further conflict.
Parties are encouraged to first seek independent legal advice to determine their legal rights and responsibilities.
We will explain the process for the service(s) you need (mediation, parent coordination, assessment, etc.) and guide you through which forms to complete. We will also explain our fee structure, cancellation policy, limits to confidentiality and our agreement/contract.
Complete the intake form and email it back to us.
Once both parties have emailed their intake forms, we will book your intake meeting. Each party will meet separately with the mediator, parenting coordinator or assessor for approximately 1–1.5 hours. The intake meeting helps us determine if the service is the right forum for your particular situation. This meeting is confidential and will not be discussed with the other party or parties. We will then review forms, answer questions and sign the agreement/contract for our service.
Your first joint session will be scheduled based on each party’s availability. These sessions usually take a minimum of 2 hours and no more than 3 hours per session. Ideally, sessions are held weekly, however, we will try to accommodate families experiencing time constraints due to upcoming court dates. In such cases, meeting more frequently and scheduling occasional evening appointments may be necessary. We do not schedule appointments on weekends or holidays.
Depending on the number of issues to be resolved, the availability of the parties and willingness of each party to disclose financial and other information, the mediation can take anywhere from 4–8 weeks to complete.
The mediator will review the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the parties and distribute copies to each of them. The MOU details everything that was agreed upon during the mediation sessions.
We charge an hourly rate for all of our services, and, the costs are shared between the parties ( Intake sessions are billed per person). Your exact rate will be determined once we know the issues and complexity of your case. We offer flexible payment plans for those experiencing financial difficulties. Our rate ranges between $160-$250 per hour.
Fees for workshops, seminars and guest speakers are dependent on the number of registered participants and the design of the event. Please contact us for details of upcoming events.
Except in cases of emergencies, clients will be charged the hourly rate for missed visits or sessions cancelled with less than 24-hours’ notice. For multiple missed visits, a retainer may be required before resuming.