Many family law disputes can be solved without ever setting foot in a courtroom. I can help you in mediation as a mediator or as a lawyer. I have been trained as a mediator by two of the leading Canadian experts in the field: Dr. Barbara Landau and Prof. Howard Irving.
Many people who are going through a separation want to resolve custody, access, support, and division of assets without going to court. Mediation can be a cheaper, quicker, less stressful option.
Some people want to resolve separation/divorce issues without involving professionals. This could be a serious mistake. A good mediator will be aware of issues, options, and solutions that an untrained person would not think of. A good mediator can also prevent people from entering into illegal or unwise separation agreements, which can have serious, unintended, long-term consequences.
Also, people may be more committed to an agreement that is reached cooperatively (as opposed to an agreement reached through litigation). With mediation, the parties are directly involved in the outcome.
What does the mediator do and not do?
A good mediator:
- Assesses whether mediation is appropriate in a given case
- Meets with the spouses together and separately, as appropriate
- Helps to define and identify the issues
- Helps to predict issues that the spouses have not anticipated
- Opens channels of communication between the spouses
- Helps each spouse articulate his/her needs
- Helps each spouse understand the needs of the other spouse
- Where appropriate, obtains input of the children, teachers, grandparents, etc.
- If requested, makes recommendations to the spouses
- Consults with each party's lawyer to ensure that all relevant issues are canvassed at the mediation
- Helps the spouses reach a settlement that both sides are comfortable with
- Helps the spouses put the common ground between them in writing for the spouses’ lawyers to consider
- Does not take sides
- Does not decide the case
- Does not have the authority to force the parties to settle or to take a position
- Does not act as either spouse's lawyer
Gene C. Colman, Mediator
A good mediator should be well trained. I have been trained in mediation by two of the leading Canadian experts in family mediation: Dr. Barbara Landau and Prof. Howard Irving. A good mediator listens well and helps the parties generate reasonable options.
Gene C. Colman, Lawyer
Even if you are entering mediation, you need good, competent legal advice. It is essential that each spouse have his/her own lawyer to help him/her navigate the issues that arise during mediation. Involving lawyers does not mean that the dispute has to go to court!
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