What is Family Mediation?
Family Mediation is a voluntary negotiation process in which persons involved in a separation or divorce attempt to arrive at agreements about issues which are in the best interests of the family. The mediator is an independent person who will assist the parties in reaching an agreement. Family Mediation does not deal with fault, find blame or give legal advice. Mediation is an affordable process that promotes communication and cooperation with the guidance of an experienced Family Mediator. All discussions and negotiations are confidential.
Family Mediation can assist with issues such as:
- Parenting Plans (Custody and Access)
- How to communicate with each other
- Child support
- Division of assets and debts
- Financial equalization and support
If you believe that mediation would be helpful in your situation, or you would like more information, contact the Mediation and Court Information Service (MCIS) directly at 1-855-275-6328 or 613-969-9949.
Family Mediation is a voluntary process and both parties must agree to participate. We strongly recommend that parties always obtain independent legal advice to ensure their rights and responsibilities have been addressed. Mediation is an affordable, less adversairal alternative to Court actions. Fees are on a sliding scale based on your income and the number of children you have.
A one hour free intake appointment is scheduled for each individual. Clients meet with an experienced Family Mediator separately to help determine if Mediation is appropriate in your situation.
If Mediation proceeds, joint sessions (when appropriate) will be held to facilitate decision making with respect to the parties' wishes and the children's best interests.
Following completion of the Mediation sessions, a Memorandum of Understanding will be drafted listing all the issues and the agreements that have been reached. The Memorandum of Understanding is not a legally binding document and individuals should obtain independent legal advice.
The Mediation process is always available to address changes or new issues that arise that you and your former partner may not be able to resolve on your own.
On-Site (at Court) Family Mediation
On-site Mediation is a free service available to clients on their Court date. The service allows Family Court clients to mediate Parenting Plans, and child support issues. If you feel mediation may assist you, please contact the on-site Mediator, Duty Counsel or Court Staff on the day of your Court appearance.
Mandatory Information Sessions
As of September 1, 2011 it became mandatory that persons who are involved with a Family Court matter must attend an information session. If you have not yet started a Court action you may attend and will receive a certificate of attendance. These free information sessions are offered in the Hastings & Prince Edward County regions for adults who are experiencing separation or divorce. Applicant and Respondents will receive notice of the date and location to attend at the time a court application is filed. If you wish to voluntarily attend call 1-855-275-6328 or 613-969-9949.
Sessions provide important information about:
- The impact of separation and divorce on children and adults
- How to help children cope with divorce
- Legal information
- Alternate methods of dispute resolution
Information and Referral Co-ordinator
The Information and Referral Co-ordinator is at the Courthouse on the days that Family Court is in session. It is a free walk-in service for the public. You will find legal and non-legal information about issues related to separation, divorce, and other areas of family law and the Co-ordinator is able to assist with information about other services available in the community. The service is jointly supported by the Ministry of the Attorney General, Legal Aid Ontario and the Mediation & Court Information Services.
Family Court / Legal Aid