The goal of divorce mediation is the Separation Agreement.
One way or another, the agreement has to be written and formalized between you and your spouse. If you want to keep this process out of the court system and keep the process as amicable as possible then family mediation is likely the best route to go. Divorce Mediation WORKS if you and your spouse are willing to work together on a separation agreement that benefits everyone, including your kids.
According to a recent survey of Canadian Lawyers, the average contested divorce in Ontario costs between $20,000 and $25,000 per person. Typically Family mediation costs about a quarter this amount. Why is mediation more cost-effective? The process is simpler, and fewer professionals are involved. Consider the savings when you employ a single mediator for the both of you and lawyers are used for the purpose of independent legal advice only.
Through mediation, you and your spouse can work together to keep your divorce out of court and still come to a healthy agreement on your own. With this approach, you both have a better chance of maintaining control of the process. It is important to remember that when you take your case to divorce court, you are essentially putting your future and the final outcome in the hands of a third party. A family court judge only hears about your case for a brief period of time and they may not decide in the way that you think they should.
When your divorce is in court, your personal information and circumstances are out in the open for others to see. In mediation, your personal information remains private and is only available to those that you choose to include.
Mediation encourages voluntary involvement in a non-adversarial environment. The Separation Agreement you come up with is often better tailored to your specific situation, and is designed to be a win/win arrangement for you both (and your kids). When you and your spouse actively work together with your mediator to come up with a separation agreement, you’re both far more likely to stick to the final decision in the long-run.
A court contested separation process will likely take considerably longer to finalize. Since communication is often limited to the lawyers, the process itself is at the mercy of emails, letters and faxes. Mediated separation agreements are typically formalized in half the time of litigated divorces.
Gail Vaz-Oxlade: Canadian best-selling financial author, host of TV’s ’till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron and co-founder of the Common Sense Divorce.
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