I have seen so many clients over the past year, who have decided during the pandemic to separate. Were they in unhappy marriages before the world shut down or did the additional stress, uncertainty and family time push them to the breaking point? It’s different in each family law case, and it doesn’t even matter. If you’re currently cohabiting with someone you plan to divorce, mediation can offer a wonderful alternative solution to dispute resolution. Here’s why.
With mediation, divorcing couples come with a specific list of issues and matters that they’re having trouble agreeing on. Any accredited family mediator is a neutral third party who is trained and experienced in listening to both sides and making suggestions so that the parties can come together and find a mutually satisfactory solution. This can be a very productive process when you’re able to stay on track and stay focused. So many new issues have arisen as the covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve. Parents often find themselves at odds with their soon-to-be ex in terms of how to handle certain situations. Should our kids be vaccinated? Should they attend in-person or on-line learning? Who should be included in their “bubble”? There are no clear cut answers but rather than battling this out in court and waiting for precedent setting cases to unfold, oftentimes it can be very helpful to have a respectful and calm conversation with the guidance of a mediator. These matters often get resolved faster and much more amicably than if you wait for a court date.
Making the transition from life partner to co-parenting partner, is a tough transition to make because it involves re-defining and establishing new boundaries. Because the mediation process is one that encourages mutually respectful communication, this can be a very positive first step in re-defining those boundaries and it can really set you both on the right path, with the guidance of a mediator. Divorcing couples often find that when they begin to communicate differently, they’re more likely to effectively resolve the issues that they were previously fighting about. And who doesn’t want that? In fact, over 80% of mediation cases get resolved, which speaks to its effectiveness.
Because mediation can be scheduled fairly quickly, it’s easier to get your issues resolved before they have a chance to spiral out of control. Oftentimes, clients can be seen within a few weeks, as opposed to waiting months for a court date. With the pandemic, courts are facing unprecedented backlogs and if your matter isn’t deemed “urgent”, you can likely be waiting several months.
If you’re fighting about issues related to Covid-19 and proper protocol, waiting months for a court to decide doesn’t really help you. Mediation can provide you with a much more time sensitive result.
Mediation can also be done on a flexible schedule. Depending on your mediator, evening and weekend appointments may be available, therefore not interfering with or interrupting your work day. Mediation is also closed, meaning that it’s private, as opposed to court matters which are a matter of public record.
At Family Matters Mediators and Counsellors, meeting our clients’ needs is our top priority. If you find yourself at a loss with how to handle a situation during these uncertain and stressful times, reach out to us and we would be happy to help you with all your mediation and counselling needs.