Mediation can be stressful (though not nearly as stressful as litigation). The Ontario Association of Family Mediators has assembled a 9-step how-to for preparing for mediation:
When considering Family Mediation it is very important to find the right Accredited Family Mediator for your circumstances. Below are a few guidelines to help you make the best choice for your family.
- Identify the nature of the issues that need mediation. (ie. Divorce and Separation, Marriage and Cohabitation, Elder and Intergenerational or Family Business).
- Family Mediation only takes place when all the individuals are willing to mediate, it is a voluntary process.
- Read and learn more about the Family Mediation process (review this site, review literature at the local library, or gather resources from a mediator, counsellor or family lawyer).
- Select a few mediators from our list of Accredited Family Mediators to find the right Family Mediator for you.
- When approaching a family mediator ask about their expertise, training, their accreditation, the family mediation process, experience with the issues you need mediated, fees, availability and hours of operation.
- It is important to inform the mediator if there has been any physical, verbal and emotional abuse during or after the relationship, difficulties in negotiating voluntarily, fairly or as equals, and whether there are court proceedings including any restraining orders. Speak to the mediator about his or her approach to mediating in these circumstances.
- Ensure that there are no conflicts of interest. For example, has the mediator had a professional or personal relationship with any parties involved. If there has been such a relationship, the mediator should disclose it and determine if it would interfere with their ability to be neutral. Choose another mediator if there is any doubt.
- Arrange for an introductory meeting so that you are comfortable using the mediator. Make sure to establish whether there is a fee for the introductory meeting.
- Ask for a sample mediation contract so you know what you are getting in to. This contract sets out the basic terms between the mediator and their clients.