Is mediation right for my family and me?

Helping parents through the separation process

This is the second in our series of blogs explaining how our family justice services team helps support parents and children in Alberta. The team offers a wide range of programs that help families deal with the separation process. This week, we are taking a closer look at mediation techniques.

More and more families are making use of the mediation process to resolve their issues when they separate. This is because:

• A mediator is a neutral party who assists with communication and negotiation.
• The process is faster and less expensive than going to court.
• Both parties will leave with skills that can help them discuss and resolve issues in the future.

Mediators have a great amount of experience with relationship issues, and they will help guide parties towards resolution. However, the mediation process still gives parents control over the outcome, as this is an agreement that only the parties involved can create.

So how does mediation work?

Step 1 – One of the parents asks for mediation. To qualify, the parent, or the other party, must earn less than $40,000 per year and have dependent children.

Step 2 – The other party must contact Alberta’s family mediation services as well. Once both parties have phoned and told us they are interested in mediation, we will move forward.
Step 3 – Both parties are booked for pre-mediation appointments, which are held separately. At the pre-mediation appointment, the mediator will explain how the process works.
Step 4 – Both adults then come together for the mediation. The mediator will guide the discussion, ask questions and suggest options. The mediator may offer information to help the parties reach a decision, cooperate and communicate with each other.

Mediation is a great option for parents who are experiencing challenges, as it provides a guided discussion leading to an agreement that is in the best interests of the children. It is also a free service to both parents.

For more information on family mediation visit our website.

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