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Kent Place Mall
Suite 217
189 Kent Street West
Lindsay, ON K9V 5G6

(705) 878-4820 (ph)
(705) 878-0776 (fx)

susanpeel@cogeco.net
www.susanpeel.ca
Services Available
Mediation Services
Why Choose Mediation?
Family Mediation
Services Available

Mediation services are available for individuals represented by lawyers, for individuals not represented by lawyers, and for lawyers seeking evaluative mediation (where the mediator provides an opinion on the legal issues and assessment of a likely trial outcome as part of the mediation process).

In some situations, co-mediation may be most useful and arrangements may be made to have a second mediator participate in the sessions, such as a parenting coordinator, social worker, counsellor or accountant.

In some situations, referrals for third party services will be recommended and assistance provided to obtain those services, such as:

...professionals qualified to provide opinions of value for real estate, pensions, business interests, share value, jewellery, vehicles and other assets

...professionals qualified to determine income tax liabilities triggered by property transfers, spousal support payments, financial settlements

...professionals to assist your children to cope if they are experiencing problems such as counsellors, psychologists, assessors, parenting coaches

...professionals to assist in determining your child's wishes and needs

...professionals to provide computer generated calculations to determine appropriate ranges of child or spousal support

...professionals to provide you with independent legal advice

What Is Family Mediation?
Most individuals involved in a separation want to move on with their lives without delay, to avoid conflict, to avoid excessive cost and to reach an agreement with their separated spouse that will be successfully implemented in the future.

Family mediation is a process by which couples can and do reach agreement quickly and at comparatively low cost. With the mediator's assistance, couples are usually able to have constructive discussions leading to agreement. Mediators talk with disputants jointly and/or separately during structured sessions in neutral settings. During this process effective, satisfactory, and workable solutions can quickly emerge and unnecessary conflict is avoided.

Mediation can take place at any time, even if a court action has been started. Family Court Judges and experienced family law lawyers often encourage litigants to take their dispute out of the Court system and to try mediation.

The costs involved in family mediation will generally be far less than the costs involved in any other process for resolution of family disputes.

The success rate for family mediation is high. Most couples who choose family mediation reach an agreement that settles all of their issues. This is important because "success" in this situation is success for both parties because they have both participated and accepted the terms of settlement.

Family mediation is not the only choice available, but for most couples it is the best choice. It allows each individual to participate fully in and direct the final result. It produces results quickly and at reasonable costs, and allows couples to separate their lives respectfully and with dignity.
What Type Of Issues Are Suitable For Mediation?

Examples of the types of issues that are suitable for mediation include (but are certainly not limited to):

Any legal dispute such as contract disputes, tort law, estate or civil litigation. 
Specific to family law problems:

Custody of children
Child Support
(ongoing, extracurricular expences, special expenses, post secondary eduction)
Parenting Plans
Spousal Support
Divorce
Shared parenting
Arrears of support
Property settlements
Mobility issues
Health and dental coverage
Property division
Schedules for children
Life insurance coverage
Property valuation
Communication plans
Income disclosure
Access to children

What Are The Advantages Of Mediation Compared To Litigation Or Non-Interest Based Negotiation?

Mediation allows individuals to channel scarce financial resources into a satisfying win/win solution for all parties, including the needs and interests of their children.

The mediation process is receptive to the personal needs of the individuals involved and the process is tailored to meet those needs and address all issues of concern to them.

The mediation process is solution-oriented and often prevents permanent damage to relationships.

Mediation provides dignity and fairness when sorting out personal problems in a confidential setting.

Mediation is an opportunity to address child custody issues in a manner that is sensitive to the effects of divorce on children and the quality of life for all involved after separation.

Mediation allows each individual to participate fully and direct the final result, rather than hand important personal decisions over to a Judge.

Mediation produces results quickly and at reasonable costs. The timeframe is not dependent on Court schedules.

Mediation allows couples to disengage calmly and with dignity.

The choice of litigation to resolve family law issues will generally result in the highest level of conflict and emotional and financial impact.

If I Have A Lawyer, Can I Still Use the Mediation Process?

Yes. If you are represented by a lawyer, your lawyer may recommend that after receiving legal advice you participate in mediation to try to resolve the issues with your spouse. You and your lawyer will decide if the mediation will take place with counsel present, or just with you and your spouse attending with the mediator. Contact your lawyer to discuss whether mediation would be appropriate in your circumstances. Your lawyer is welcome to contact me to discuss whether my services would be of assistance.

If I Don't Have A Lawyer, How Do I Start The Mediation Process?

If you are not represented by a lawyer, you and your spouse will deal directly with the mediator. You will be encouraged to obtain legal advice so that you are educated about the legal implications arising from your separation. You and the other party must agree to participate. Contact us to arrange for an initial consultation. Consultations are usually available on short notice. You will be asked to complete an Intake Form to bring with you to the consultation.

When Is Mediation NOT The Best Option?

In the initial contact, the mediator will assess whether or not the couple is suitable for mediation and which process would be most effective. The mediator will have individual meetings with the spouses to ensure that there is no serious power imbalance which would make it difficult for one or the other party to handle his or her own negotiations.

Power imbalances can be addressed in several ways such as including lawyers in the mediation sessions, co-mediation with a counsellor or social worker who can help participants with emotion and anger, intervention by the mediator to stop unacceptable behaviour, and redirection by the mediator to focus the parties' on their common interests, such as children and the future, and not on the parties' opposing positions or their past battles.

Do I Need A Lawyer?

Individuals participating in mediation are expected to have some knowledge of their legal obligations and rights. Legal advice is essential to ensure that you are aware of your rights and that your rights are protected.

It is strongly recommended that you consult a lawyer prior to the mediation sessions and before signing an Agreement negotiated during the mediation session. Although I am a lawyer, I am not representing either of the participants in the mediation process and I am not providing legal advice to you. I will direct the discussions, raise relevant legal issues and assist to generate options for resolution but you should have independent legal advice from your own lawyer and any Agreement reached will be subject to the advice of your own independent lawyer.

How Do I Find A Lawyer To Provide Independent Legal Advice?

Referrals are available as part of the mediation process.

If I Have A Lawyer, How Does The Process Work?

If lawyers are involved with either party, the mediator will speak to the lawyers to address initial concerns and ensure that the lawyers provide input as to what issues need to be resolved and how they can assist the mediator.

In some cases, the lawyers will participate directly in the mediation session. The lawyer's role in this circumstance is to assist and advise his or her client rather than to advocate. A mediation with counsel can be a highly focused, efficient, and effective means of reaching quick resolution and sometimes will require only one mediation session.

How Much Does It Cost?

Initial Consultation: Fixed Fee of $250 plus HST for each party
(Each party meets with Mediator separately for initial consultation)
Mediation Services: $350 plus HST per hour

A retainer to be shared by the parties is required for services following the initial consultation. The amount of the retainer will vary depending on the complexity of the issues and will be settled at the initial consultation stage. The initial retainer is normally  $3,000 plus HST. 

If I don't Have A Lawyer, How Does The Process Work?

The process for your particular circumstances will be agreed upon in the initial consultation and will be tailored to meet your needs. A description of a common mediation process is provided below.

Step One: Initial consultation

The mediator will meet with each party separately. You will be asked to complete and Intake Form. The individuals will be advised by the mediator to have independent legal advice. Legal advice may be advisable before, during and at the conclusion of the mediation depending on the circumstances and definitely before an agreement is signed.

Prior to the joint sessions, you and the other party will sign a Mediation Agreement. Normally, the discussions during mediation take place on a without prejudice basis (meaning that statements made or positions accepted during mediation in attempts to reach a settlement cannot be used against you, or the other party, in future court proceedings). The reason for this approach is so that you are able to discuss issues honestly and openly. It is a term of the Agreement that the mediator will not be a witness if litigation takes place in the future.

Step Two: Joint sessions

The mediator will then have joint sessions with the spouses. The mediator's role is to be a neutral facilitator helping the couple to engage in constructive discussions leading to agreement on all of the issues. The mediator will help the couple to deal thoroughly with each issue and to ensure that all issues necessary for a proper agreement are canvassed. Sometimes, the mediator will meet privately with the individuals during the session at either the request of the individuals or the mediator. Depending on the complexity and nature of the issues, there could be one or several sessions.

Step Three: Memorandum of Understanding or Agreement

When there is consensus in respect of all issues which need to be resolved, the parties will assist the mediator in the preparation of a Memorandum of Understanding or a Separation Agreement.

Step Four: Independent Legal Advice

You review the Memorandum of Understanding or Separation Agreement with your lawyer.  

Why Is Mediation a Good Way To Have My Needs Met?

Rather than being peripheral to the negotiation process (as often happens during litigation), you are participating directly in the negotiation. You are encouraged to express yourself as to what is of greatest importance and what needs to be in an agreement to make it work for you, as is your spouse.

The mediation process provides an opportunity to have a full voice and be heard and understood. You are given time to voice all of your concerns which rarely happens in other processes. Issues that might never be heard in other processes can be given time and importance. Since you and the other party have real input and directly participate in the negotiation and resolution of the issues, the agreement is likely to be a lasting and reliable resolution.

You and your spouse will learn that despite your differences, you can learn to reach agreement on substantial areas of dispute and that if future problems arise, you will be able to come back to this process to settle differences. Disputes do not have to end in a win/lose situation. Conflict is best managed and solved by non-judgmental mediation.

In mediation, confidentiality is greater than it would be through litigation or in court.

Mediation can be arranged within a shorter time frame than alternatives such as litigation.

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