Family Mediation (Divorce Mediation) is a confidential and informal way where an accredited mediator helps parents and families reach a mutually acceptable agreement and resolve outstanding issues.
Utilizing proven techniques and knowledge, a family mediator will guide the parties and help them reduce the emotional stress and ensure safety for all participants. A family mediator does not decide the outcome of a case but rather help to manage the issues and ensure the best possible results.
Anyone considering family mediation should get all the facts about the mediators and the organization(s) responsible for their accreditation or certification.
Family mediation in Ontario, has been long promoted by the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM).
OAFM accreditation designation is also sanctioned by the Ontario provincial government. You can find out more about OAFM at https://www.oafm.on.ca/
If you have already started a family court case, most Judges will encourage parties to participate in mediation and resolve some or all of their issues.
Over 80% of family mediation cases result in a full agreement. For any unresolved issues, parties have an opportunity to continue with their court action where a Judge will decide the outcome.
Family Mediation can help you resolve issues related to:
Major issues include health, education, religion and general welfare. If parents enter into a joint decision-making agreement, one parent would not be able to make decisions without the other parent.
The family mediator will facilitate discussions with the parents, on the best schedule for the children, and, outline these decisions in a parenting plan. Canadian law does not start with a presumption that there will be equal parenting time.
Parenting plans should be individualized based on the age, stage of development and needs of each child. The plan also takes into consideration, the circumstances and ability of each parent.
All parents in Canada have a legal obligation to financially support their children. A step-parent and adoptive parent have the same obligation. Child support is governed by the child support guidelines and take into account, parents’ income, children’s age and time spent caring for the children.
A parent cannot be denied time with a child because they have not paid child support. In addition, a parent might still be required to pay child support, even if there is no contact with the child.
Spousal support, on the other hand, is not an absolute right. Both married and common-law couples can make a claim for spousal support, however, conditions must be met for common law relationships.
Spousal support can be negotiated between the parties based on financial need and the contribution of the party to the relationship. The length of the relationship and the age and earning potential of the party requesting support is also a factor. For information about child and spousal support, visit https://www.mysupportcalculator.ca/
When couples separate, one of the major decisions that must be made. is how they will divide their property. In Ontario, the law is applied differently in married and common-law relationships. Couples who live together as spouses (legally married) automatically share in the value of their property if they separate; common-law couples do not. Property includes the matrimonial home, investments, bank accounts or anything of value accumulated during the life of the relationship. A family mediator will help you sort through some of the question and provide information to help you navigate your separation or divorce.
Generally speaking, a parent can move with a child if the move does not interfere with the other parent’s time. If the move requires a change in the child’s school, the moving parent must obtain written consent from the other parent or from the court to do so.
In court, that parent must convince a judge that the move is in the child’s best interest. Similarly, if a parent wishes to travel with a child, the travelling parent may need a signed consent from the other parent to do so. In addition, the travelling parent may need to give the other parent travel details and contact information before leaving for a trip. This may also be required in a sole custody situation.
It is important that parties set ground rules with regard to co-parenting in order to minimize conflict.
Family mediation, will help guide parents to create a parenting plan that outlines how information about the children will be shared, and, by what means.
For high conflict parents, it may be beneficial to place a limit on the length of the communication.
Divorce mediation works best when: