FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q1 What kind of conflict can be mediated?

 

A  Family disputes in the form of:

1. parenting arrangements and parenting time for comprehensive parenting plans

2. the division of family property assets and debts for separation agreements

3. child support; and

4. spousal support

Q2 Is mediation a safe process for my family if we  have experienced family violence?

 

A Okanagan Family Mediation Mediators are trained to assess for violence and to adapt the process as needed to ensure the safety of all participants. We also offer shuttle-mediation for parties in different locations or online-mediation via web-conferencing/telephone conferencing to avoid physical contact between parties to the mediation.

 

Q3 Can I use mediation if I am in the middle of a court case?

 

A If you have received a Notice to Mediate, you must attend mediation. Otherwise, any party can suggest mediation to the other party at any time and the case could settle with the help of a mediator. Chris Rothman can provide you with information on how to proceed.

 

Q4 If I am already in the middle of a court case with a lawyer, won’t hiring a mediator add to the overall cost?

 

A It is usually worth attempting mediation. If the mediation does not result in complete agreement, you may continue negotiating or continue with the court process. Research has shown that mediation helps to clarify information and reduce issues, which shortens and simplifies the court process, and often creates a foundation for an agreement later.

 

Q5 How much does mediation cost?

 

A Each mediator sets his/her own fee. The cost will also depend on factors such as the number of parties, complexity of issues, qualifications and experience of mediator, number of sessions and whether lawyers are participating. Normally, the cost of a successful mediation will be less than the cost of going to court.

 

Q6 Who pays for mediation?

 

 

A Usually, the parties involved share the cost. You can arrange this at the beginning of the mediation process so there are no surprises.

 

 

Q7 Can I contact you as Mediator directly, without a reference from a lawyer or the Court?

 

A Yes any client can contact and use my services directly without going through the Court or a Lawyer first.

 

Q8 Would you as Mediator be able to advise us about the applicable Law, weather it be Family or Tax or other applicable Laws?

 

A I am not allowed to give legal advise to parties in mediation, where I am the Mediator, but I am allowed to educate you as to all your options, every step of the process, and that will most likely answer most of the questions you may have during the process. You will be advised to get ILA (Independent Legal Advise) from a lawyer or an FEO (Financial Expert Opinion) from a financial specialist, when you and the other participants in mediation disagree on a legal point of contention, or on a financial matter. That will reduce your legal and financial costs immensely. I will also be available to give ILA to parties involved in mediation in front of another mediator, because I am also a lawyer, and will only charge fees for that specific advice on that specific point of contention, or where and agreement was drafted by another lawyer/mediator, on that agreement reached. Some Mediators are not lawyers and will only be able to give you a MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) about the terms you and the other participants have reached agreement on. I will be able to draft a legally binding agreement from that MOU in conjunction with advise and correspondence, from the mediator and author of the MOU.

 

Q9 Will you draft any agreement we reach and will it be legally binding?

 

A Yes, I will be able to draft the agreement you reach and yes it will be legally binding on all parties who signed the agreement. As Mediator I will not be allowed to sign the agreement with you. You will be advised to get ILA about the terms of the agreement before signing the agreement to ensure your rights are protected and you have knowledge of your rights. The agreement you reached might be different from the advise by the ILA lawyer, or a decision that might be given by the Court, because of the unique facts of your situation and the unique set of interests upon which you have reached this agreement. I will be available by phone or by correspondence to inform the ILA lawyer of the unique set of interest that formed the basis of the agreement reached, to help him understand why the agreement might be different, because the ILA lawyer was not part of the mediation process and discussions.

 

Q10 Do I have to follow the advise of the ILA lawyer?

 

A No, you don’t have to follow the advise given by the ILA lawyer and therefore need not change the agreement reached at the mediation. The purpose of ILA is to insure you are knowledgeable about your legal rights and the possible legal position the court might take in this situation, but your agreement might be different because of the unique set of interest the parties to the agreement wished to incorporate into the agreement. The unique set of interest will most likely be interest the court and the law will never be allowed to consider and in this regard you become authors of your own agreement and destiny and have thus more control over the agreement reached.

 

Q11 Am I obliged to go for and obtain ILA or FEO when advised to do so by the Mediator?

 

A You will be advised by the Mediator to get ILA or FEO about the terms of the agreement before signing the agreement to ensure your rights are protected and you have independent (not given to you by the mediator) knowledge of your rights. This advice is costly but necessary to ensure your rights are protected and you have independent knowledge of your rights. You are not legally obliged to follow the ILA or FEO advice given, and could therefore also not be legally obliged to get the ILA or FEO and therefore can also decide, not to get ILA or FEO , although advised to do so. As Mediator I will educate you on all your options, every step of the way and will also educate you on the need for ILA and FEO where applicable. How you decide to use the education given to you by the mediator, is always, only up to you.