Frequently Asked Questions

We have included responses to some frequently asked questions for your information below.  If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us using the form on our
Contact / Hire Us page.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a dynamic, structured, collaborative process where an impartial third-party assist disputing parties in resolving conflict using specialized communication and negotiation techniques.  Our goal is to develop a client-centered conflict resolution process that can help the parties to navigate disagreements, address power imbalances, and improve communication.

Facilitative vs Evaluative Mediation

Facilitative mediation is where the mediator facilitates the parties’ communication and negotiation so that they can reach a settlement on their issues.

Evaluative mediation is where the mediator hears the parties’ respective positions and arguments and provides an opinion as to what he or she thinks about the parties’ relative positions. In some cases, this can be very helpful to the parties in reaching a settlement.

What is the Mediator’s role?

A mediator is a neutral third party who helps the parties to find solutions to resolve their conflict. Mediators use different approaches including

  • Interest based mediation – the mediator assists the parties in focusing on their interests instead of their position in the dispute and helps the parties to find solutions that address their interests.
  • Early evaluation or rights-based mediation – the mediator listens to each side and then tells the parties the strengths and weaknesses of the complaint.

Do I need a lawyer?

No, not unless you want one, but you should seek independent legal advice or information about the Mediation Contract and substantive aspects of the conflict.  Often parties who have retained a lawyer will attend mediation sessions without their lawyers present.

Who pays for mediation?

It depends on the circumstance and what the parties have agreed to. There are some free mediation programs through the Court, but private mediators charge a fee that is paid by the parties.

Who attends a mediation?

The parties to the conflict, their lawyers if the parties want them there, and the mediator are the main participants.  Other parties that may attend if they are agreed upon by the parties are accountants or other experts [ie: parenting experts, financial or estate planners, specialized experts in areas such as business valuators, employment, construction, science etc.,] In some cases a personal support person may attend with one party if the other party agrees but they generally do not talk or participate.

Will the mediator talk to my children?

That depends on the mediator.  Some mediators do child inclusive mediation [Sharon and Katherine will both do this kind of mediation] and will speak to the children about how they are doing in each home and in their life in general.  The mediator will then bring the views of the children back to the parents in the mediation if the children are ready to share their views and the parents are ready to hear them.  Another option is to hire a child specialist as an expert to interview the children and attend a mediation session to bring the children’s views to the parents.

Do I get to talk to the mediator before the mediation?

Many mediators do a pre-mediation session with each party prior to the first joint mediation session to work out any process issues or accommodations required by either party. Sharon and Katherine both do pre-mediation sessions with each party.  It’s important to note that information shared at a pre-mediation session is confidential.

Is what I say confidential?

Yes, the parties to a mediation and the mediator may not record, share or publish outside the mediation process, including on social media anything that is said or produced  in writing or digitally in the mediation sessions unless the parties both agree in writing to do so. There are some limited exceptions to this, including the final Mediated Agreement. 

When and where is the mediation held?

That is up to the parties and most mediators are flexible as to locations and times to try to accommodate the parties’ needs.

Can I attend remotely?

Most mediators will do online mediation with Zoom, WebEx or another secure video online platform. In some cases, one party may attend by telephone and not video conference. The details of the mediation process will have to be agreed to by both parties.

How long are the mediation sessions and will there be breaks?

The length of the sessions and the timing and length of any breaks can be tailored to suit the needs of the parties ranging from an hour to a full day. 

Can I choose my own mediator?

The parties must agree on who the mediator will be. The ability for the parties to choose the mediator allows them to pick a mediator with experience in the area being mediated.

Can each party choose a mediator so that there are two mediators instead of one?

Yes, if the parties agree that they want 2 mediators and if the mediators chosen will agree to co-mediate.

What if I or the other party has addiction or mental health challenges?

In many cases the mediator will be able to make accommodations to address issues such as these, so long as it can be done safely for all parties.

The other party has been charged criminally; can we still mediate?

If there is no legal document preventing contact between the parties and any safety issues are addressed, then a mediation can occur.

Can the mediator stop the mediation?

Yes the mediator controls the process and if one party is not abiding by the terms agreed upon in the “Agreement to Mediate” or is not following the mediator’s directions or the process has become unfair, unproductive or abusive then the mediator can and should end the mediation.

If we do not settle the conflict will the mediator decide my case?

No, the mediator merely helps the parties to come to a negotiated settlement.  If you both do not agree then there is no settlement. Some mediators are also Arbitrators and if you choose a combined mediation/arbitration process and there is no agreement in mediation a decision on any outstanding issues can be made in arbitration by the Arbitrator.

What happens if the conflict is not resolved?

Then other legal (court or arbitration) or administrative processes will continue.

What happens if a settlement is reached?

The mediator will produce a Mediated Agreement, which reflecting the agreements reached. This Mediated Agreement is not legally binding.

What if we want a binding agreement?

If parties’ want a binding agreement then the mediation/arbitration (med/arb) process is the best option.  Any settlements reached in mediation can be turned into a Consent Arbitration Award which is binding and can be turned into a Court Order by either of the parties.  Any issues not agreed to can also be decided by the Arbitrator if the parties choose and then the Arbitrator issues an Award of their decision.

What are the benefits of mediation?

  • It is less expensive than other legal or administrative options.
  • It generally takes less time to have a matter dealt with than other options, provided that the parties make themselves available for mediation sessions in a timely manner.
  • You have the benefit of a skilled independent professional to assist in helping you and the other party generate options and reach a settlement or develop an action plan to move forward.

What mediation is and is not.

Mediation is not:

    ✘   Magic
    ✘   About pointing fingers or determining blame
    ✘   About defending one’s position
    ✘   About proving how right you are and how wrong the other party is
    ✘   About apologizing
    ✘   About forgiving or being forgiven
Mediation is:
    ✔   About listening to each other without judgment and assumptions
    ✔   About a respectful exchange of information and ideas
    ✔   About having the courage to be vulnerable and share your perspective and feelings
    ✔   About positive bargaining and evaluation of the issue[s] under discussion
    ✔   About engaging experts to assist with providing expert information or advice to the parties
    ✔   About working collaboratively to create a resolution so you and the other party can move forward
    ✔   About taking the time needed to address the issues and reach a resolution.
    ✔   Conflicts often become greater over time and need time to be resolved.