The Process

How Mediation Works

We need to confirm that both parties agree to go ahead with mediation.  If you are not certain if the other party will agree, Jocelyn can send a letter to them to explain our services.  She can answer any questions either of you have.  Please feel free to contact us.

Once both parties confirm their willingness to proceed, a mediator is assigned within three (3) days and we will give each of you an individual free intake appointment of approximately one hour as well as a date for your first joint session.  Some joint sessions take place with everyone in the same room and some can take place with you each in a different room.  If you are proceeding online via zoom the same thing can happen.

The first intake appointment is free, private and confidential. That session gives you another opportunity to decide if mediation is for you. After intake, if both of you agree and are suitable for mediation, you will proceed with your joint session.

Intake Appointment

When you meet with your mediator privately in your intake session, they will encourage you to tell your story, explaining all of the things you are concerned about and would like to see happen.  They will ask you questions to help understand your situation. The mediator will also ask questions about any history you have of arguments or power imbalances that would mean the process would not be safe or fair for you. If you appear to need some legal advice at this stage they may help connect you to do that.

The mediator will also explain the mediation process to you and will tell you what to bring to your first Mediation session, including proof of income and any other important documents. We will need reliable financial disclosure to mediate support and property issues and your mediator will explain this to you.

Please feel free to ask questions as well, and get to know your mediator.

Mediation Session

On the day of your mediation, your mediator will check in with each of you privately to see if anything has changed and to see how comfortable you would be being in the same room.  Although we generally mediate in the same room, especially when parenting is being worked out, you can mediate in different rooms or back and forth between these two approaches.  We have some tips on how to prepare for mediation and how to act during mediation.

Prior to your mediation session you will be asked to sign the Agreement to Mediate. This is an important contract between you both and the mediator that allows your conversations to be private.

Your mediator is skilled at helping the two of you have a difficult conversation in a new way.  The mediator will guide the “process”, for example directing you to take turns, listen to each other carefully, helping each of you hear the other persons perspective.  The mediator will encourage the two of you to come up with solutions and help you to come up with options if you get stuck. Some people describe mediation as “issue” based, rather than “rights” based. For this reason mediated agreements can include agreements on things that a court may not get involved with. You can be creative.  Whatever matters to you matters to us.

Some mediations get completed in one session, but others may take a few more. The mediator may give you some ‘homework’, or time to think about options, or receive legal advice after the first session. Each situation is different.  You may receive a Progress Note after each session that will document your progress and any homework.

When the mediation is complete, the mediator will prepare your Mediation Report indicating in detail what you both agreed to in mediation. If you want a legally binding agreement, a lawyer would put it into minutes of settlement if you are in the court system or prepare a legal separation agreement if you are not. Your mediator will explain these options more fully to you when you get to this point.

Mediation in Person or Online

You have the option of mediating in person or online via Zoom.  If you are proceeding with an online mediation session, please click here to download our Online Mediation Guidelines. Online mediation still allows the same process as outlined above and is confidential and secure.

How long does it take?

Your mediation will depend on many factors, such as:

  • Number of issues to be mediated
  • Nature of issues mediated: emotionality, and complexity
  • Amount of conflict between parties
  • Degree of communication & co-operation between parties
  • Whether the children and/or others are to be involved

However, it is estimated that it will take between 4 to 8 hours to complete.

S’il vous plaît nous aviser si vous avez besoin des services de médiation en français.

Child Inclusive Mediation

The Ontario Association for Family Mediation created standards for mediations involving children that require mediators to be child centered and provide education, awareness and understanding of the needs and best interests of children experiencing the conflict of others.  They must consider whether and how children can be heard in a safe, supportive way while also providing education about the importance of not causing children undue pressure to have an opinion or become a decision maker.  Participation must be voluntary, and no child should ever be pressured into talking with a mediator or professional, recognizing that not all children will wish to take the opportunity to have a voice. We offer this Child Inclusive Mediation through a closed,  co-mediation model. For more information please see the Voice of the Child Process Within Mediation information sheet.

Questions And Answers

If a court action has already been started it can be postponed until you first try to resolve your issues through mediation. Local Justices are aware of this mediation program and always encourage parties to resolve their matters on their own.

There are several ways that your settlement can be turned into a Court Order. If you have a lawyer assisting you currently, they will prepare the final documents. You may be eligible for assistance from Ontario Legal Aid Duty Counsel. If not, we have identified a panel of lawyers that will assist you for a small fee.

You should obtain legal advice in some manner in order to prepare the Minutes of Settlement or Separation Agreement to finish your agreement.

When you meet with your Mediator, you and the opposing party will sign an Agreement to Mediate that explains the process.

Your contract will specify whether you are doing closed or open mediation. Open mediation is rare, and you can ask your mediator for more information about the differences between open and closed mediations. We generally provide closed mediation off-site, and our on-site is always closed. This means that we only report on the mediation when you resolve your issues, and we only report what that resolution is – we do not comment on any other aspect of your situation.

Yes, your mediation process is confidential.

Our intake sessions are free.  Your mediation service fee will depend on the number of children you have and your income.  Please click here to see our subsidized service fee chart