Some British Columbia couples whose marriages are struggling may wish to learn more about the mediation process of divorce. Although many may believe that divorces can only be settled in a courtroom, the reality is that some cases are suitable candidates for mediation, particularly those in which both parties are willing and able to collaborate with one another toward reaching an agreement.
In the mediation process, both individuals in the divorce often decide upon their own interests independently with their own legal counsel and work to negotiate them with the other party. Mediation tends to be much less expensive than going to court can be, and parties involved have the option of splitting the costs between themselves. A mediator typically charges an hourly rate, and meetings are usually between two to six hours in duration.
In a collaborative settlement, both parties agree to resolve their differences outside of court. Agreements reached in this way are indeed considered legally binding and may be enforced by a court should one of the parties involved violate its terms. That being said, it may be possible to amend the agreement after it has been signed if both parties consent to the amendment or if circumstances change sufficiently to justify it.
Some mediators can also serve as lawyers and may directly assist in the drafting of any agreement that is reached. In addition, someone involved in mediation may benefit from a lawyer’s assistance in assembling necessary documentation to substantiate their case or reviewing the feasibility of a proposed settlement. If one of the parties later violates the settlement in some way, it may become necessary to initiate legal action to compel them toward compliance.
Source: The Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, “Mediation and Collaborative Settlement Processes“, October 09, 2014
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