In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, both the Supreme and Provincial Courts are largely closed in B.C. Unless you have an urgent issue, you can expect a significant delay before your matter can be heard by a judge. What this means is that almost all issues related to parenting, support, and property division cannot be heard by the courts right now. If your matter can’t wait, it is time to look to alternate dispute resolution options, such as mediation.
Mediation is a dispute resolution process where you and your former spouse work together with a mediator to reach a customized agreement on matters related to your separation. The mediator is a neutral third party who facilitates you and your former spouse reaching a mutual agreement. The mediator does not make any decisions for you, instead, they empower and support you and your former spouse in making those decisions yourself.
Laura Allen is one of the founding lawyers of Duncan Allen Law LLP as well as an accredited family law mediator. She is available to assist parties, including self-represented parties, in negotiating comprehensive settlement agreements or issue-specific interim agreements.
Some of the benefits of mediation include:
- Availability – unlike court, mediation can be scheduled at any time and without delay. The process can be arranged very quickly. It can also occur ‘remotely’ through an online platform which allows mediation to occur despite social-distancing protocols.
- Cost – mediation can be a very cost-effective option. The cost of the mediator is typically shared between the parties.
- Positive agreements – the goal at mediation is not for one party to “win”. Instead, the focus is on finding an agreement that all parties are comfortable with. It is, by nature, less combative and litigious than typical court matters and, as a result, parties tend to be happier with the end result.
If you would like to schedule a mediation you can expect the following process:
- Consultation – the process begins with a free 15-minute consultation with Laura. She will provide you with a summary of the mediation process and answer any questions you may have about it.
- Intake forms – each party will then complete a general information form and, if the issue relates to a financial topic, a financial information form.
- Pre–mediation meeting – Laura will then meet (by Zoom) with each party separately to gather background information from each of you and confirm that mediation is the right process for you.
- Mediation – Mediation will be scheduled and conducted by Zoom. Don’t worry if you are not ‘tech-savvy’. Laura will send you a link via email that you simply need to open on a smart phone or computer equipped with a webcam.
- Agreement – If you reach an agreement during mediation, Laura will draft a formal agreement to be signed by both parties.
We always encourage both parties attending mediation to obtain independent legal advice. If you have additional questions, please give us a call!\
COVID-19 NOTICE: WE ARE OPEN DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO ASSIST YOU WITH ALL YOUR FAMILY LAW ISSUES. WE ALSO OFFER MEDIATION SERVICES. PLEASE NOTE OUR OFFICE HOURS HAVE BEEN REDUCED TO 9:00 A.M. TO 3:00 P.M., MONDAY TO FRIDAY. PLEASE CALL IN ADVANCE IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND THE OFFICE FOR ANY REASON. PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE TO BOOK A CONSULTATION OR SEE OUR BLOG FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.