Family mediation In Victoria BC
Our approach to the mediation process varies depending on the issues, the parties, their relationship and state of mind, and the context. The goal is a mutually agreeable resolution that makes sense for all parties
As mediators, we help ensure that parties are making informed rational choices, with a full understanding of their key goals and concerns, in an environment that is respectful, productive, and focused on the future. We take a problem-solving approach to the typical issues in family cases, such as property division, equalization payments, spousal and/or child support, custody, parenting plans, etc.
Prior to Mediation
Prior to mediation, we normally hold one or more pre-mediation interviews with each party or their representatives to deal with administrative issues. We may also deal with some substantive issues in these pre-mediation interviews.
Once all parties have agreed to retain our services, you will receive a number of standard documents from us, including a description of our Family Mediation Process, our Agreement to Mediate (the contract by which you retain our mediation services), an Assessment Questionnaire, a Community Resource List, and other resources and documents appropriate to your situation.
We encourage each party to provide their perspective on the key issues to be resolved, with a productive focus on the future. We facilitate an exchange of perspectives, clarification of any questions or concerns that parties have, and encourage productive respectful dialogue.
We use questions to generate an understanding of the core goals and concerns on each side. We highlight shared goals, such as building a good stable life for the children, to build a collaborative mindset. And we reinforce positives where we see them (e.g. mutual respect and caring).
Each party will ultimately make an informed rational decision between what is possible by agreement with the other person at the table, versus what is likely to occur if they walk away without an agreement.
Focus on the Future
We facilitate the generation of options for possible resolution by asking parties to identify their core goals instead of just their surface positions, and to consider various ways to achieve those core goals. Understanding the underlying motivation is key to developing viable options that may work for all parties.
We encourage the free flow of information and a problem-solving approach to the issues. Searching for objective criteria/fair standards often helps both parties to move forward with comfort that they are heading in an appropriate and fair direction. We don’t have to argue the value in a bank account, if we can see a bank statement, for example. The more objective factual information parties have, the more comfortable they are making decisions.
Need a Co-Parenting Plan?
We can assist you to create and road test a stable, sensible co-parenting plan, addressing the issues that need to be addressed.
We can help you plan for a practical and effective transition in parenting that is optimal for your respective circumstances.
Co-parenting plans can deal with guiding principles, communication protocols, custody and access scheduling, emergencies, parental behaviours, decision-making, holidays, adjustments and more.
Where appropriate, we can assist parties to draft, review, and approve mutually agreeable language for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), summarizing their agreement on the issues. We can reality test and clarify the MOU to ensure parties are on the same page, have a doable plan, and have a clear shared understanding of the tentative agreement and their next steps. Parties will not be asked to sign a binding contract. They will normally be responsible as parties for having the MOU reviewed by their respective legal counsel. The understanding is that the MOU is non-binding until it is incorporated into a signed formal settlement agreement.
When clients leave us, they leave with a clear plan capable of implementation, and hopefully with better skills for discussing future disputes.
Who we are
Paul Godin is a highly experienced mediator with experience in family law issues. Christine Murray is a highly experienced family law lawyer trained in mediation. Together, we are a uniquely capable team of co-mediators. Paul and Christine are both roster mediators for the NWT Family Law Mediation Program.
A 2017 study by the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family measured the costs and value produced by various approaches to family disputes, surveying family lawyers across 4 provinces. The study concluded that:
• Mediation resulted in the highest SROI [Social Return on Investment] ratio for resolving low-conflict disputes with an estimate of $2.78 in social value created for every dollar spent, followed by collaboration at $2.06 per dollar.
• Litigation had the lowest SROI ratio for resolving low-conflict disputes at $0.39 in social value created for every dollar spent, and arbitration resulted in an SROI ratio of $1 : $0.57.
• For high-conflict disputes, collaboration resulted in the highest SROI ratio at $1.12 in social value created for every dollar spent, followed closely by mediation at a ratio of $1 : $1.00.
• Litigation had the lowest SROI ratio for resolving high-conflict disputes at $0.04 in social value created for every dollar spent, and arbitration resulted in an SROI ratio of $1 : $0.38.
For our summary of the report, click here.
In mediation, you control the results. The focus is on solving problems and meeting your respective goals. Solutions can be as creative as you like. And agreements reached by consent are generally more stable and cost effective than imposed orders.
Family Law Fees
For family mediations, our fee as a co-mediation pair is $350 CAD per hour plus GST.