Working it out with a neutral professional
Mediation involves you and your spouse voluntarily agreeing to a neutral professional facilitating the details of your separation or divorce settlement. Mediators cannot provide legal advice, but they often provide legal education on specific topics relevant to your situation. Mediators don’t take sides or advocate for one spouse over another. For example, they can explain the laws relating to support, but they cannot suggest which options are more favourable to either you or your spouse.
Generally, lawyers are not part of mediation unless you and your spouse decide to engage independent counsel while going through the process. Usually, the lawyers representing you and your spouse become involved after you have reached an agreement through mediation. The lawyer will provide independent legal advice to you and your partner before you sign the final settlement agreement.
Mediation works well if you and your partner can have productive discussions, make decisions independently, and there is no power imbalance in the relationship. To reach a resolution, all you need is a neutral professional to guide you in generating options. If you or your partner requires support or legal advice throughout the process, then collaborative law may be a better process for your needs.
As with collaborative law, mediation is cost-effective and protects your privacy because it occurs outside of the court process, which is open to the public.
Learn more about the differences between mediation vs. litigation.