The Basics About Family Mediation

Family mediation is a voluntary process, where a neutral mediator supports family members to make decisions, often but not always in the context of separation or divorce. Family mediation can also be used to resolve parenting issues, and to develop cohabitation agreements or marriage contracts.

    • Mediation is voluntary: Mediation is a process to negotiate your own agreement with support and assistance.
    • The mediator is neutral and impartial: In mediation, the mediator helps you and your former spouse articulate needs and concerns, assists in identifying options, and supports both spouses in creating an agreement. The mediator does not take sides.
    • Mediation helps parents focus on children’s best interests:  In family mediation, the mediator will help parents have meaningful conversations about what arrangements will be best for their children once they are living in two households.
    • Mediation is confidential: At Bluewater Mediation, all mediation is conducted on a confidential basis. This means that anything said cannot be used in Court or other proceedings. In addition, the mediator cannot ordinarily be called upon later to testify in a court proceeding about what happened at the mediation or to disclose any documents that may have been prepared in the mediation. Those entering mediation sign an agreement at the beginning of the process that sets out terms with respect to confidentiality.
    • Mediation is cost-effective: While the mediator cannot guarantee that you will reach agreement, However, for most people, mediation is significantly more cost effective than proceeding in Court, or than traditional negotiation between lawyers.
    • Mediation of some but not all issues: You can choose to take some issues to mediation rather than all. For example, you could decide to mediate issues related to parenting, while addressing financial or other issues in the court process, or visa versa.
    • Mediation requires good faith and full disclosure: The family mediation process requires that participants make a commitment to proceeding in good faith and to sharing all relevant information related to finances and other issues.
  • The mediator does not provide legal advice: The mediator facilitates a process where you and your spouse make a plan for your family’s future, together. The mediator does not, and cannot, provide legal advice. Before any agreement is finalized, each spouse is strongly encouraged to consult a lawyer to receive independent legal advice on the agreement. This is to ensure that each person understands his or her legal rights and is making informed decisions. Each spouse is also strongly encouraged to arrange for a legal consultation in advance of the mediation process.