Goldwater, Dubé's experienced mediators are available for private mediation sessions. Me Marie-Hélène Dubé and Me Leanne Greenberg are the firm's certified family mediators, experienced in helping spouses find positive solutions to ease the divorce process.
You are eligible for mediation if you want to settle your differences with your spouse on an amicable basis. Mediation is a voluntary process. Both parties must agree to attend the sessions and act in good faith. The mediator will help you and your spouse arrive at an agreement that is mutually beneficial.
We will inform you and your spouse of the laws applicable to your circumstances and provide general legal counsel so you can make a clear and informed decision.
The mediator will allow you and your spouse an equal opportunity to share your perspectives. This will keep you on task and focused on the common objective of amicably resolving your separation or divorce.
We will provide a warm, neutral and respectful environment for you to settle the issues surrounding your breakup in the most respectful, cost-effective and personalized way possible.
Our mediators can help you and your spouse agree on custody, access rights, parental authority issues, child support, spousal support, partition of assets and any other issues regarding the breakup or your children, such as the choice of school, special children's expenses, sharing of holidays, special needs children, etc.
Our mediators are also qualified to handle more specialized claims, such as compensatory allowance, lump sum alimony, execution or cancellation of gifts in a marriage contract, and others.
Mediation is not recommended if you are a victim of conjugal violence, or if you or your spouse have a mental illness.
Mediation tends to be much faster than traditional litigation, and it is less adversarial. That does not guarantee, however, that negotiations will be completely effortless. You must be prepared to voice your claims, and to provide your spouse justification for your positions (for instance, financial documents).
Mediation is dramatically less costly than litigation.
All information disclosed in mediation sessions remains confidential, unlike court documents, which are public. No records, transcripts, personal documents or financial information disclosed in mediation can be used outside of mediation or produced in court. This rule protects your privacy.
The mediation process helps preserve relationships that would otherwise often be destroyed after years of litigation. This is a particularly important advantage when children are involved and you want to protect the quality of your relationship with your children and with your co-parent.
While the separation or divorce process is a stressful period for children, there are few if any negative, long-term effects on children as a result of a divorce or separation in itself. The adverse effects occur when parents involve children in the conflict and are not sensitive to their children's physical and emotional needs. Goldwater, Dubé's resident psychologist, Dr. Samantha Goldwater-Adler, is available to help ease the transition, and build the skills needed to have a healthy co-parenting relationship.
Mediation is a good first step to reduce tensions between parents, and to make the process of separation or divorce as non-conflictual as possible.
Each spouse should consult an independent lawyer through the mediation process, to obtain confidential advice about litigious issues. A mediator cannot take sides between the spouses, nor can the mediator provide legal advice to either spouse.
Also, once you and your spouse have arrived at an agreement in mediation, each of you should consult an independent lawyer to finalize the text of the agreement in appropriate legal language, and it will then be filed in court to conclude your separation or divorce.
Your mediator will first meet with you and your spouse to explain the process in detail and to answer your questions.
You will be given homework at the end of each session of mediation (completing court forms such as the budget and the Annex I, finding important financial documents, bringing documents pertaining to your children such as their school calendars, etc.).
Remember that, just as in court, financial disclosure is the rule for both of you. Mediation cannot succeed if you are trying to keep secrets from each other. You have to conduct yourself with fairness, transparency and respect for your spouse.
The mediator will help you discuss each of your issues, and will note down all points upon which you come to an agreement.
Rome wasn't built in a day! Even if you solve only some of your problems, these can be turned into a formal agreement, and you can agree to tackle your remaining problems later on, whether by returning to court, or trying a second round of mediation.
What is important is getting into the good habit of trying to resolve conflict by discussion and compromise. A partial agreement is a good beginning that you can build on in the future.