FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Willow Tree Mediation specializes in divorce and separation mediation. We meet with the parties involved to facilitate discussions that lead to peaceful solutions. Couples who are parents find mediation to be extremely helpful in focusing on the best interests of the children to create effective parenting plans with guiding principles that substantially reduce conflict.
We help both parties reach an equitable accord on major issues such as asset splitting, parenting plans, child support and spousal support.
We also work with adult children with issues such as making decisions about the care of an elderly parent or estate issues. Family harmony is very important to us and we understand that a family crisis sometimes needs the guidance of a neutral mediator to see the bigger picture and come to a peaceful agreement.
An experienced family mediator will meet with you and your spouse to determine what the issues are. You both participate in setting the agenda for the mediation. Mediation is a self directed process where the Mediator’s role is to provide a safe, neutral environment to discuss the issues identified and keeps the sessions on track toward making productive, focused solutions that you can live with.
Mediation is always an excellent first step to resolving family issues and is more affordable than going to a lawyer to handle your negotiations in court. You may be able to divorce your spouse, but you will always be parents to your children. The best solution is the one that is in the best interests of your children. Initiating litigation is the beginning of the adversarial process and usually brings out the worst in people which keeps lawyers in business. Lawyers do play an important role and should always be consulted so that you are fully informed of your rights. This is especially important before you sign anything in writing and it becomes a legal agreement. There is a lot of gray area in the law which leads to uncertainty and discretion of the judge. Parents know what is best for their children and owe it to themselves to explore the options through mediation rather than having a court ordered decision by a judge who doesn’t know you or your family.
Agreeing to participate in an early intervention such as mediation is always in the best interests of the children. We understand the urgency of your situation and will provide you with an affordable process that may lead to an agreement that feels right for you and your family. During mediation parents will be guided through a process of discussing the issues about their children to work towards completing a comprehensive parenting plan. The parenting plan outlines regular access, custody and many other issues that will reduce conflict and includes a future dispute resolution mechanism.
Closed meditations are confidential and the mediator will not be called to testify in family court. There are a few exceptions to this that will be explained in detail prior to the mediation.
Closed mediation is a confidential process where the mediator is not called to testify or submit a report to Family Court or a Family Arbitration. This allows the parties to openly discuss their issues without a report pending. Willow Tree Mediation has a policy of Closed Mediation sessions.
Open mediation may be requested by the parties as part of the Agreement to Mediate that allows the possibility of a Mediator being called to provide a report or testify about the mediation. Some people prefer Open Mediation because if the mediation comes to an impasse, the mediator would report on the process and may assist in litigation or arbitration.
According to a 2016 survey from Canadian Lawyer Magazine, the average cost of a contested divorce is $15,306. Going to court? Add another $18,710 for a two-day trial or a whopping $33,564 for a five day trial, on average. Our mediated agreements cost a small fraction of that. Please see Mediation Process and Costs
No, it is not necessary to commit to a long term contract in mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process and can be ended by either of the parties involved or by the mediator. Willow Tree Mediation offers affordable packages that will assist you in being educated on parenting plans in advance and prepare you for mediation so that the face to face negotiations are productive and respectful.
It is always advisable to seek legal advice after an agreement is reached before it is signed to ensure that you are making a fully informed decision.
A mediator is neutral to the process and never makes decisions on the issues. The Mediator’s role is to provide a safe, respectful place for the parties to discuss the issues at hand and to facilitate the process towards an agreement. Should there be an impasse in mediation, the parties are free to initiate litigation or arbitration as a next step in resolving all or some of the issues.
When the parties arrive at an agreement in mediation, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be prepared and provided to them. MOU’s are never signed in the mediator’s office and are not legally binding at this point. Parties are strongly urged to take the MOU to their lawyer to get independent legal advice before signing to ensure that they are making a fully informed decision. It can become a binding legal contract under certain conditions and your lawyer will explain that to you.
Mediation is not counseling. A mediator is a neutral person who is facilitating the process of a constructive discussion about the issues in a safe, neutral environment. The parties set their own agenda and negotiate for themselves during mediation. The mediator may give some factual information to both parties, but never offers advice on solutions. Family counseling offers ongoing support to families who are working out long term communication issues or parenting concerns and mediation is an early intervention to assist families to find solutions to a crisis through a written agreement.
The role of the mediator is completely neutral and our Code of Ethics prohibits a mediator from giving legal advice. The parties are strongly urged to seek independent legal advice before mediation and after an agreement are reached. Memorandums of Understanding are never signed in the mediator’s office.
The length of the mediation process varies. Willow Tree Mediation has streamlined the process by offering packages to make mediation more affordable and effective. We educate and prepare the parties in advance of the face to face mediation to make the parties more focused on the issues at hand when we meet to work out an agreement. In other words, the process is as quick and painless as possible and depends on the level of cooperation of both parties.
For more information, please fill in the Contact Us section of this website and you will be contacted by our office as soon as possible to arrange a complimentary meeting to see if mediation will meet your needs. Or simply call us at 1-844-455-7333.
Willow Tree Mediation offers appointments evenings and Saturdays
Good question! Please go to the Contact Us page and fill in your contact information and questions. We will be in contact with you as soon as possible to answer your questions. Or simply call us at 416-855-7333