Divorce Mediation in Ontario – the benefits you can expect!
Today litigating your divorce will more resemble a trip to Service Ontario.
Divorcing couples suing each other to end their marriage is absurd.
Even if you hire the most virtuous lawyer, the other side might hook up with a barracuda.
It is so much smarter to begin preparation, mental and tactical, for settlement from the onset.
Mediation is a voluntary process.
People who work together to create are vested in those plans, and will abide
Those who have used our divorce mediation process aka The Soft Landing Divorce Settlement Method find it fantastic, but they also say that many of their friends don’t even know what are the mediation benefits in separation and divorce. As a result, we are often told “You guys should do a simple ‘Top Nine Mediation Benefits. A Top Nine List so I can explain it to my friends”. So OK, here we give it a try, but, as it turns out, the hard part is picking only nine reasons.
What are the benefits of mediation in divorce?
It seems that many people have a fear of going to court that is closely related to a fear of public speaking. Being before a judge is not like standing before a firing squad, but you would never know that from the way many people feel about the prospect. With family mediation services as your conflict resolution method, you agree on the terms of your separation and then outline those terms in a Separation Agreement. No court process or court appearance are necessary.
What mediation means in law?
In case you haven’t heard, the province of Ontario has been quibbling with the feds for more judges to meet the overwhelming demands of Family Court. The feds, however, don’t see the need. This means that the resources available to the Family Law Branch of the Ontario Superior Court are increasingly sparse. Therefore, the time that judges, commissioners and clerks have are being stretched thinner and thinner. Add to this mix the ever increasing number of “self-represented” litigants and pretty soon the experience of litigating your divorce will more resemble a trip to Service Ontario than the venerable and profound hearings that were experienced in the past. Really, given the speeding cutbacks and restructuring going on now, how much time do you think a harried judge has to contemplate and ruminate over your case? Besides, who is better positioned to diagram the future of your family, you or some crown employee?
It is much better to spend all the time you need working with your spouse using a divorce mediation service to carefully craft and shape the future direction of your family. Take control, act like a grown up and plan for the future. Here is what you can expect in divorce mediation.
How do you stay calm during mediation?
Divorcing couples suing each other to end your marriage has always struck me as absurd. Starting a Court Case with Summons, Applications, Motions, Answers, and Affidavits – give me a break! The participants were married to each other, so even if there are now irreconcilable differences, this doesn’t mean that they cannot engage in a civilized discourse and provide for the orderly division of property and agree upon necessary parenting plans with adequate child support and/or spousal support within the framework of the law.
Any honest trial lawyer will tell you that litigation is crippling in the stress it creates. Family mediation, as compared to legal problems and litigation, is a walk in the park. Mediators insist upon respectful, non-threatening communication and the process is tolerant, enlightened, and downright refined as contrasted with traditional lawsuits. Leave legal advice to Lawyers and settlement negotiations to Mediators.
Are family disputes better resolved by mediation?
Mediators are neutral, remaining strictly in the middle. They are not on one side or the other. They advocate for neither party; they are the Devil’s advocate. They ask the tough questions and steadily move the process towards understanding and settlement. On the other hand, a lawyer, unless providing your service through a Legal Aid or Non Profit Center, has a profit motive. This is not an indictment, it is simply a fact.
If you ask a barber how you look, he’ll say you need a haircut. If you ask a lawyer what you need to do, they will say you need to sue.
Please don’t get me wrong, there are many excellent, honest and dedicated members of the family law bar and it has been my privilege to know quite a few of them, but every one of those straight talking righteous lawyers can tell you horror stories about other lawyers.
Even if you hire the most virtuous lawyer you can find, the other side might hook up with a barracuda and your legal fees will be astounding. It is better to engage a single professional who is neutral and will work it all out in a few mediation sessions, without paying a couple of lawyers to fight.
How often is mediation successful?
Did you know that, in Ontario, most family cases settle? There is some uncertainty as to the actual statistics, but the number generally given is near 96%.
Almost no cases go all the way to a trial. Why go through the expense and heartache of setting yourself into a “litigation” mentality if the probability of settlement is overwhelming? It is so much smarter to begin preparation, mental and tactical, for settlement from the onset of your dispute and skip the unnecessary umbrage.
What are the advantages of mediation?
When people have a “solution” imposed upon them by an outside agency, it is simply human nature to immediately begin scheming to thwart that imposition. Sure, a litigated divorce may specify a court ordered child pick-up and delivery schedule, but life means changes. What sounded just right in May no longer works in December.
It is much better to work with your spouse and develop the tools you need to deal with the changes that inevitably occur. What is more, the reluctant cooperation and “unintentional” foot dragging that often comes with imposed conditions is a formula for ongoing strife, friction and misery, even if it never rises to a level that justifies having the court act to try and remedy the other person’s conduct.
Mediation is a voluntary process, people who work together to create plans that they voluntarily agree upon are vested in those plans. There is a much higher likelihood that those people will abide by their agreement and have less conflict in the future.
Is mediation cheaper than divorce
With the high divorce costs in Ontario, if you are contemplating divorce you can choose litigation, or you can choose a more comfortable and affordable retirement.
Is mediation a good sign?
One of the foremost pay offs that the parties to mediation achieve is the communication skills necessary to effectively reach agreement with their spouse. This may sound simple and not that meaningful an achievement, but the process of learning how to “get to yes” is just like any other talent. The way it develops is through 3 key elements: practice, practice, practice.
Once the parties to a separation have been through the process, have spent the time reasoning with one another, they oftentimes find that there is a carry-over and they can more easily deal with other issues as they present themselves during their ongoing co-parent relationship. People often tell us that they have never before experienced this sort of give and take with their partner. It is a great set of skills to cultivate.
Is mediation better than going to court?
All of the reasons set forth above make it abundantly clear that using a divorce mediation service is the easy way. No court. More control. Less stress. Lower costs. It is a decision that is commonly referred to as a “no brainer”.
The March 2021 update to Canada’s Divorce Act, the law that governs divorce in Canada. Section 7.3 States
To the extent that it is appropriate to do so, the parties to a proceeding shall try to resolve the matters that may be the subject of an order under this Act through a family dispute resolution process.
Why the Change?
Conflict resolution procedures like mediation are typically quicker and less expensive than going to court to family disputes. There are specific benefits to creating agreements through family dispute resolution procedures [Mediation] in cases involving children. Children, for instance, frequently gain from witnessing their parents cooperating. Aiming to keep parents’ attention on what is best for their children. Additionally, these [Mediation procedures have a tendency to enhance the communication abilities that divorcing partners will require for years to come in order to settle child-related disputes.
However, judicial processes might be preferable if there has been family violence or a substantial power disparity between the parties. In light of this, parties are only required to take part in a dispute resolution process “to the degree that it is reasonable to do so.”
If our reasons for Divorce Mediation is not enough…
What Ontario's top judge has to say
Former Ontario Chief Justice Warren Winkler states the #1 reason for Divorce Mediation in Ontario.
Family law is in a state of crisis. We see a system in disarray.
Is the Divorce Mediation Process for you? If you want to resolve disputes and are concerned about the outcome of your separation and divorce, tired of worrying about what it will cost, or if it will remain an amicable separation and how it will impact your children or your retirement, then I’ve got something I think you’re going to be really interested in.
Imagine a non-judgmental alternative dispute resolution method that is safe and secure environment that leaves you free to express your interests, concerns, fears and feelings, all without feeling intimidated or pulled into any bickering.
What if I could guide you both step-by-step to an equitable outcome in 4 meetings or less, and in doing so create a separation agreement with a built-in Soft Landing for your family.
If this interests you, please allow me to explain my Divorce Mediation Process. Get in touch for a Get Acquainted Call to learn more about finding a separation agreement with a soft landing.
Articles that may interest You!
Where to find Ontario Mediation Services, Divorce Mediators & other Neutral Professionals
If you feel my Soft Landing Divorce Settlement Method is not a good fit for you or my locations is not convenient (and Virtual or Remote Location Mediation is not an option.) It is still vital that you mediate your separation and divorce. You can find mediation services in Ontario at following organizations:
- Ontario Association for Family Mediation
- Family Mediation Canada
- ADR Institute of Ontario
- Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO)
Other Professionals working as Neutrals
The Divorce Mediation Process : The Soft Landing Method
The Divorce Mediation Process Milestones.
Client Outcome Visioning Discussion
With most separating spouses they stop communicating effectively, just at the time when they have the most to learn about each other. Many start assuming what the other wants from the separation.
In the Client Outcome Visioning discussion, I will sit with each of your one-on-one and learn from you. I want to learn what is your ideal outcome, what are your core objectives and your main concerns. The better I understand your vision for the future, the better I can help you get there.
With what I have learned I become your, peacemaking intermediary.
Clear Financial Foundations
If you find “Disclosure” a mysterious concept. You not alone. However, this is an important and required foundational element to the divorce mediation process. In fact, it’s a fundamental requirement in any separation and divorce path you take. It’s the law! To help you breeze through the Disclosure gathering. I have my very own Disclosure Tutor an interactive online-learning tool. You will be up to speed in a snap.
Smart & Equitable Financial Share
Imagine a custom settlement structure designed to protect the wealth you have created while laying the foundation for independent futures and soft landings for you and your family. With a thorough and comprehensive understanding of your finances, I will facilitate your equitable financial share. One of the most rewarding parts of my work is when I can show the separating couple how to look at their finances differently, in effect making the financial pie larger. That is how divorce mediation works for you. Soft Landing design in action!
Family Harbour Child Centered Parenting Plan
For those who have children, long after your finances are settled, you are connected to each other by your children. Your children will be your greatest legacy. Many longitudinal studies have proven a mediated separation and divorce settlement creates the most stable long-term co-parenting environments. If your mediation produces nothing more then a healthy co-parenting environment then it’s simply worth it.
The strategic error that most people make is to develop a separation agreement in a vacuum. What I mean is they create a separation agreement without input from the other party. Then they turn around and demand the other party sign the separation agreement. I call this separation at gun-point. This strong-arm approach mostly leads to higher conflicts and no signed separation agreement.
With Divorce the Smartway the creation of a separation agreement is an inclusive endeavour right from the start. A separation agreement developed in mediation with the input of both parties creates a sense of equity and ownership of the agreement. When there a feeling of ownership the agreement becomes more durable and long-lasting.
Independent Legal Advice (ILA)
For an agreement of this nature, obtaining a “Certificate of Independent Legal Advice” is a must as it adds durability to your Separation Agreement. To this end, a lawyer will review your Separation Agreement and provide you with the “Certificate of Independent Legal Advice”.
More about Mediation Services – Soft Landings in action
What is a Soft Landing
A Soft Landing is the result of a collaborative mediation process and divorce financial planning. A point worth making is a Family Court Judge simply cannot be creative. And a straight-up 50/50 split of assets does not always produce an equitable sharing of assets. Imagine transforming dysfunctional financial situations into a future-focused solution. Soft Landings are created when there is an allocation of family assets along the lines of who can best utilize the asset in the future. In effect making the financial pie larger.
Simple Soft Landings Examples
- A pension holder swaps their pension value for say their share of the matrimonial home.
- Monthly spousal support is converted into a one-time lump sum payment and put to use immediately.
- Deferred sale of the matrimonial home until the children go off to High School or University.
These are some very simple examples. There many solutions to every financial dilemma.
How could the decision to mediate be easier and at the same time harder?
The answer is simple. If you merely want to be a passenger and have the issues of where you are going, the route you’re going to take, the speed you’re going to travel, the rest stops and how long and hard you’re going to drive decided by someone else, maybe mediation isn’t for you.
If you have the courage and smarts to make your own decisions on how you are going to live your life, you are a good candidate for The Soft Landing Method and should take the first step and check out our Roadmap to Clarity and Certainly, It takes work on your part, but the end result will be well worth the effort.
Have Any Questions?
Book a Call
Talk to Ken S. Maynard CDFA, a Soft Landing expert to come up with a strategy that works best for you and your family for free!
Ken S, Maynard CDFA
since you’re here…
Do you value fair costs, compressed timelines, your well-being and a favourable outcome?
If you have children, are approaching retirement, or simply in the primary pursuits of life, no matter what your station in life, separation and divorce often presents some unique challenges. That said reaching a settlement should not break you financially or break your family. Like life, Separation and divorce also have their stages. The early decisions you make and the path you take are directly connected to the quality of your outcome.
The path you take
Let’s hear from Divorce Industry insiders about lawyers and litigation.
“Entering the litigation process forces people to take an adversarial stance because that’s the way the system is designed.”
“Because a court can only do so many things, the answers are impeaching us already. Has to be custody, has to be access, has to be amount of support, has to be division of assets, in a way that the law stipulates. So they’re very bounded by the results because a court can only order so many things.”
“Lawyers unfortunately because that’s their job, tend to reinforce that [adversarial stance]. When you have people who are hurt, who are in crises, who are afraid, who are worried, and they see it as a war. And that’s really dreadful for kids”
June Maresca – Family Court Judge
“The process requires people to bring out the worst in each other. My ex-husband is like this and like that, all the most horrible things. My ex-wife is like this and like that, it brings out the worst in people. So the other party reading that gets their back up and retaliates.”
“She said I knew that our marriage was broken, but after the litigation our family was broken. And it just, it broke my heart.”
Toni Pietrantoni – Family Law Lawyer
“Once you thrown mud at somebody and they throw mud back at you, it typically gets to the point where the hate level does not decrease, the hate level increases.”
“When I see litigation, it’s based on a binary system. You either win or you lose, or on an issue, you’re right or you’re wrong.”
Richard Bennett – Family Law Lawyer
“And at one point my mom said well you have to choose who you’re going to live with, me or your dad. And I couldn’t study for about a good two months and we had finals coming up, so it was difficult.”
Child of Divorce
“The time has come for a fresh conceptual approach to resolution of family disputes in Ontario”
Warren Winkler – Ontario Chief Justice 2007 – 2013
“The empirical evidence shows that it isn’t necessarily the separation and the divorcing of parents that creates the psychological and emotional damage in children, it is the conflict that happens afterwards.”
Julia Haasz – Family Law Lawyer
“The litigation process is expensive, time-consuming, and it’s not going to have the effect people think it’s going to have.”
Francine E. Van Melle – Family Court Judge
What about Self-Representation?
The family court system has seen a terrific increase in the number of self-represented litigants (self-reps, or SRLs) over the past few years. But what does it mean to be a self-rep? Judges and lawyers, as well as the system itself, are all struggling to understand who how to better accommodate self-reps in a system built upon the expectation of both parties having lawyers to act for them.
The National Self-represented Litigants Project revealed some disturbing figures. Over a period of 4 years and 3 months ending April 6, 2016, in Ontario Superior Court cases where there was one self-rep and one represented client, the self-rep won only 14% of the time and lost 73% of the time. (The remainder resulted in no orders or split orders.) While there are many explanations for this, it’s clear that a person without any legal help or assistance is facing an uneven playing field.
The resolution value ladder
The further down the resolution value ladder you start, the higher cost go, and the longer timelines extend. Bypass low-value processes and start with the high-value mediation process. Whether you have a settlement in mind and just need a separation agreement prepared or need assistance reaching a settlement, contain costs and conflict by working with a neutral third-party – mediator.
Learn more about Soft Landing Divorce Settlement Method
“Research tells us the greater the degree to which the parents own the outcome, the greater the likelihood they will actually follow through, and that reduces the conflict.”
“People are like snowflakes, families are like snowflakes. No two are the same. And so the benefit of a collaborative process, there is no rubber stamp, there is no template that anyone has to fit in to”
Gary Direnfeld Social Worker MSW, RSW
Next Step - Schedule a Get Acquainted Call
I help smart and successful couples, create separation agreements with clarity and soft landings for secure futures, in 4 meetings or less without all the lawyer created overwhelming conflicts, confusion and costs. You can work with me by video conference or with a DTSW associate at any of our 6 DTSW Greater Toronto mediation centers, including | Aurora | Barrie | North York | Vaughan | Mississauga | Scarborough.
Have a few questions - Tap here to Schedule a Get Acquainted Call