Your first call
If you and your spouse/partner wish to mediate with me, each of you will contact me separately. I will schedule a separate intake meeting with each of you.
The time spent on your matter gets billed to you at my hourly rate. The amount of time needed always depends upon how many issues there are and how simple or complex the facts are. Usually spouses divide the payment 50-50, but other arrangements are possible.
How long does it take?
Your intake meeting takes about an hour. Together, we will explore your hopes for how things will look once you are separated - what you hope mediation can do for you and your former spouse.
I will go over formalities, such as what the mediation contract looks like.
I will give you a list of what documents you must gather for the first joint meeting. This is called financial disclosure. Financial disclosure is a key element of a successful separation agreement.
If you have questions which are complicated from a legal or factual perspective, you may need to also get the help of other experts. For example, a pension might need an expert valuation; a business might need an expert valuation; or a piece of real estate might need an expert valuation. I will guide you on this.
I will explain how, as a mediator, I can only provide legal information to both spouses (as opposed to providing legal advice to either individual spouse). I will also explain what Independent Legal Advice is. Your right to get Independent Legal Advice is also a key element of a successful separation agreement.
Now that the formalities have been dealt with, we proceed to joint meetings.
Your mediator is a not a decision-maker. Rather, your mediator is a facilitator who guides your decisions by helping your discussion in many different ways.
Your joint sessions will be booked for a block of 3-hours.
Mediation requires a lot of mental effort.
You and your spouse are coming together and perform what might be the most creative problem solving of your relationship, for the future of you and your children, at a time when you are both least capable of working together.
It takes effort, but it is worth it. It gives you control over your own futures and families. However, people are usually tired after several hours. That is why I book meetings for a maximum of three hours at a time. You will need on average 3-4 sessions to reach your final agreement (more, for more complex situations; less, for simpler situations).
Ultimately, the level of conflict between parties will dictate how the mediation process is structured, how many mediation sessions are required for the parties to resolve issues and who participates in the mediation sessions.
I have over thirty years of work experience, with ten of those as a practitioner of law. My prior career as a federal public servant afforded me many opportunities to be consensus-seeker. As a communications specialist, I developed a strong ability to listen to people - and become attuned to their verbal and non-verbal messages.
Later, through the study and practice of law, I discovered a special interest in alternate dispute resolution, and a talent for mediation. Over the past decade, I have developed these skills by continually challenging and building my expertise in negotiation techniques.
These are skills I will use to help you turn a dysfunctional marriage into a fresh start with the emotional tools to move forward in a positive direction for all involved.