What if you and the person you have been living with cannot agree on separation or divorce issues? Do you need to go to court? No. You can try to reach an agreement out of court through family mediation.

What is family mediation?

Family mediation is a negotiation between two individuals, with someone’s help. It can be faster, cheaper, and more private than going to court. A neutral third party, known as a mediator, can help you communicate with each other and reach an agreement on issues, such as:

People use mediation:

  • to avoid going to court
  • before they start a court case
  • any time during a court case

There are two different types of mediation – open mediation, and closed mediation. You can decide what type you prefer to use at the beginning of the process.

What is the difference between open and closed mediation?

In an open mediation, if you go to court, the mediation process will not be private. You, the other person, and the mediator will be able to discuss in court what happened during the mediation. The mediator may also share a report with the court summarizing the issues that have been resolved and outlining the issues that remain outstanding.

In a closed mediation, the mediation is private and confidential. Discussions and documents from mediation cannot be shared in court. There are some limited exceptions where the mediator can share information, for example, where there are concerns over the safety of a child.

Mediation is closed unless both parties agree that the mediation will be open.

What types of mediators are there?

Mediators can be:

  • social workers
  • lawyers
  • psychologists
  • other professionals

They do not take sides, make decisions, or give legal advice.

The drawbacks of mediation

Mediation can be pointless if the parties involved stay entrenched in their position and refuse to negotiate. As well, any important social or legal points will be lost in a confidential settlement. Sometimes it will take several mediations for the parties to reach some type of agreement, making it an expensive exercise. Lastly, mediation will only be successful if the parties are committed to a resolution.

Contact us for family mediation advice

A mediator does not take the place of a lawyer. You should get independent legal advice before and throughout the mediation process to understand your rights and obligations.

At HNPC, our Family Law Team will work with you to find a mediator who is a good fit for everyone and can help you bring a speedy and final resolution to your case.


We’re here to empower you in ending your family conflict.

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