Allan J. Crawford
Barrister & Solicitor
208, 9804 100 Avenue
Grande Prairie, Alberta
Overall Family Relationship
Everyone in the family will probably feel better if the issues can be settled in a co-operative manner. Co-operation will lay the foundation for a positive long term relationship between the various members of the family. The children will especially appreciate an amiable settlement between their parents and, if the parties agree, could even have input by discussing the situation with the mediator.
There may be one major issue which is holding everything up and would be costly to litigate. An example would be how the equity in the matrimonial home should be divided. The law is really very straight forward on this issue once the parties have obtained an appraisal and a pay out figure on the mortgage.
There may be a number of smaller issues that do not need to go to court. Examples would be the division of household goods, drop off and pick-up times for the children and the use of recreational vehicles. Most well meaning parents would be able to settle these matters just by getting a neutral third party to give them some ideas that have worked for other people.
A mediator can settle all the major issues but legal counsel will play a stronger role in these matters. The more serious the issue the more likely that you will want to come to mediation equipped with legal advice from your lawyer. It will also be more important to get your lawyer’s opinion before actually signing an agreement with a mediator.
One day of mediation will almost certainly settle at least some of the issues and maybe all of them. You can sign an agreement or you can take a draft agreement back to your lawyer. You will be given a printed draft copy as well as a flash drive so that the parties and/or their lawyers can reword the clauses as required. Remember….just by agreeing to come to a mediator you will have made progress in your family relationships.
The mediation process itself is really very straight forward. Just call, e-mail or simply click on Application For Mediation, to get started. The parties may wish to come in for a briefing on what you need to get together for the mediation or, conversely, you can arrange a conference call. Once a day for mediation is selected, we will meet in the conference room in my office building. If you come in together with one check your total fees and GST will be $2500.00. If you come separately the fees are slightly higher ($1500.00 plus GST for each party.) We sit down at my computer, call up a draft agreement and work our way through it settling the issues as we go. The relevant law, and likely court outcomes if not mediated, will be explained as we work through the agreement. At the end of the session each party will have a completed agreement ready to take to a lawyer for independent legal advice. You will also be given a flash drive for your own computer or for your lawyer.