What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which two or more parties meet with an impartial mediator to discuss issues, explore options, and settle on outcomes that take seriously the interests of all those involved.
When do we need a mediator?
A mediator can be helpful any time difficult conversations need to be conducted and/or difficult decisions need to be made. Mediators can be helpful even when there is little, if any conflict. As the level of conflict increases, a mediator becomes more and more important. Mediators are frequently used in the case of separation and divorce, workplace conflicts, and business and commercial disputes. They can also be of real benefit to families dealing with farm succession plans and issues surrounding the transfer of farming operations and assets to the next generation.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Less hostility, anger and fighting to win than in court
The people involved who have to live with the outcomes make the decisions
Less hurt to children in separation and divorce
In developing parenting plans, the parents who know what is best for their children are making the decisions
Possible to develop communication skills needed as parenting partners
What does the mediation process look like?
Generally a mediator will meet with each of the parties separately first. These meetings are confidential and are meant to provide the mediator with the necessary background information to conduct the most profitable session. Following that, the mediator will meet together with both parties as often as is required, with the possibility of individual meetings throughout the process when deemed necessary by either the mediator or the clients.
What is the role of the mediator?
It is important to recognize that the mediator is not a judge nor an arbitrator and will not decide matters for you. The role of the mediator is to help you, the parties, have the conversations you need to have to settle matters. The mediator will help you hear each other and understand each other. The mediator will keep you focused and on track. The mediator will help you work with your interests and concerns to come to a resolution that is most appropriate for all parties concerned.
What if the other side will not agree to mediation?
Do not give up on mediation too easily. Particularly in separation and divorce, we may still be able to work with you in ways that can decrease the levels of hostility between the parties.
Is mediation legally binding?
Any agreements reached in mediation can be written in “minutes of settlement” in the case of civil disputes or Legal Separation Agreements in the case of family mediation. When duly drafted by your lawyer and reviewed with both parties by their own lawyers, these documents become legally binding.
Can what I say in mediation be used in court if we don’t settle?
The definitive answer is “No.” Mediation is “without prejudice". Nothing said in mediation can be used by either side in any other process if mediation is not successful. Information shared in mediation will often be the same information that must, by law, also be shared in court.
Do I still need a lawyer if I go through mediation?
The short and easy answer is “Yes.” The more informed you are about your legal rights, the better the decisions you will make in mediation. When the mediation process is done, you will need a lawyer to draw up your formal agreement. In the case of separation and divorce, each party must have independent legal advice before the agreement is legally binding.
Should my lawyer accompany me to mediation?
This is a decision for you and your lawyer. In civil and commercial disputes, lawyers are often part of the mediation, though it is not mandatory. Family mediation usually occurs without lawyers present. Any agreements reached are subject to consultation with your lawyer.
How long does mediation take?
This is entire dependent on the nature of the dispute and the level of collaboration between the parties. At Grasslands Mediation we are committed to end mediation when the mediator believes nor further progress is possible.
When does mediation end?
Mediation ends when anyone of the following happens:
All matters in the dispute have been resolved.
Anyone of the parties decides that the process is no longer appropriate for them.
In the mediator’s assessment, nothing further can be gained by continuing the process.
What is the cost of mediation?
This depends on how many sessions and other work is required from the mediator. Grasslands Mediation charges $120 to $150 per hour, plus GST. We normally ask for a retainer of $1500 when we begin work on your file. In the case of family mediation, discounts are available if you can demonstrate financial difficulty due to low income.
Given how small the Swift Current community is, what if one or the other of the partners at Grasslands Mediation knows me or someone on the other side?
At Grasslands Mediation we take both “conflict of interest” and “confidentially” very seriously. In the event that you know one of the mediators at Grasslands Mediation and you do not wish them to be involved in the mediator, they will not be involved, they will NOT be given access to your file, and the mediators will not discuss your matter.