We have been helping separated couples settle out of court since 2001.

We can help you too!

Our mediators include:

  • A retired family court judge
  • Family lawyers who also speak French and Farsi
  • Recognized leaders in the field.

Why is family mediation effective?

  • It starts and ends with what is important to you and your family
  • It is guided by a senior and experienced family lawyer or retired judge who knows the law
  • It is respectful and empowering and
  • It responds to your timelines, financial circumstances and needs.

Our mediations begin with private and confidential intake meetings with each person. This helps us understand what is really important to you, and to craft a workable process.

We work closely and effectively with lawyers to maximize time and resources.

If you do not have a lawyer, we will design the process to meet your needs.

Family mediation can be done online or in person; in the same room or in separate rooms.

Most importantly, family mediation moves at the pace you need.

If you reach a settlement with us we will document it either in the form of a draft agreement for your lawyers to review or a Mediation Summary Report.

What can be addressed in mediation?

  • parenting plans for children
  • decision-making disputes
  • mobility cases
  • child support
  • spousal support
  • income determination
  • property valuation
  • property division
  • marriage and co-habitation agreements
  • high conflict separations
  • children’s special needs issues
  • unique challenges facing LGBTQ2+ families
  • extended family disputes
  • family cottage and inheritance disputes
  • family partnership agreements

Frequently Asked Questions

Want more details on Family Mediation? Skip to our FAQ Section.

Articles on Family Mediation

Before we meet

Review the "Get Started Here" guide

Ready to Get Started?

Complete Your Family Mediation Intake Form

Your Child’s Voice is Important!

In parenting cases,we take a child-inclusive approach.

Our full team is well trained to meet with and to interview children 8 years of age and older.

Where parents cannot agree on what is best for their child, we will explore the best way to hear that child’s views on the matter.

Depending on the child’s age, stage of development and all the circumstances parents can agree to:

  • Authorize us to interview the child and prepare an oral or written report. This is often the most effective and affordable way to hear the child’s voice
  • Retain another professional to interview the child and report back to the mediator and parents
  • Hear from other professionals in the child’s life such as a teacher or counsellor
  • Conduct a full assessment
  • Retain counsel for the child
  • Hear from extended family, or other community members with knowledge of the child’s needs and circumstances.

 

What Makes Family Mediation Work?

Family mediation works because it deals with the things that are important to people. It allows people to let go of their sense of grievance, get some emotional relief, and walk away with a plan that addresses the things they are most concerned about. Family mediation focuses on the things that people say are most important to them: improved relationships, fairness, respect, acknowledgement, financial security, the well-being of their children, and closure.

As experienced Toronto family mediators, we also know the things that people need in order to have a successful mediation, including full financial disclosure, respectful and honest commitment to the process and ability to give and take. Family mediation is not for everyone, and it does not always work out.

In family mediation, people work together in a private, confidential and supportive setting that allows them to speak openly and honestly and try to clear up misunderstandings.

Our team of highly experienced Toronto family mediators knows how to guide a process so that each person feels heard, understood and fairly treated. We cannot guarantee that you will achieve all you are looking for, but we can provide you both with the best possible chance of negotiating something with which you both can live.

Family mediation works best when:

  • both parties realize that the costs of continuing their battle in court will outweigh any possible benefits
  • they both want to change the situation
  • they are able to express their concerns freely and without fear of retribution
  • both are ready, willing and able to negotiate in good faith and comply with rules and agreements and
  • relationships are free of ongoing violence or abuse between the parties and/or children that cannot be addressed in family mediation

Our Toronto family mediators work with you to help you both decide if family mediation can be helpful for you in your circumstances. If mediation is not the best option, or perhaps one or both of you are not ready to mediate, we will help you find resources and better alternatives, or help negotiate the things that need to happen before family mediation can be effective.

Our family mediation process respects the voice of the child, and we will discuss with you the options for ensuring that the rights of children are appropriately respected.

And, because we are also family mediation trainers, we know what makes a good mediation. We are specialists in family mediation process design and are committed to making the process the best it can be—for each of you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose family mediation?

Ending an intimate relationship is an overwhelming experience. It is complicated—emotionally, financially, legally and procedurally. Many people do not know where to begin. Few want to hire lawyers for a battle, but no one wants to feel vulnerable and taken advantage of. Most people just want a fair settlement that gets them and their children what they need.

Today’s separating spouses have many options, including mediation, litigation, collaborative practice, arbitration, negotiating with legal professionals, or doing it themselves. It is important to have an individual meeting with a mediator, before you choose mediation, to decide whether the process is the right one for you. Some people will retain a lawyer to help them in the mediation while others feel comfortable mediating on their own.

Whichever way it is done, mediation should be a fair, safe, balanced, informed and affordable way to resolve difficult problems. Our team of mediators is ready to help lawyers and their clients settle the toughest cases in the best possible way.

What are the benefits of mediation?

Mediation empowers the parties to resolve all aspects of their dispute in a way that is best for them. Mediation respects the needs of each person involved including extended family members. Family mediation allows parents to stay focused on the needs of their children. Mediation is less adversarial, less stressful and less expensive than going to court. Research shows that people who use mediation are usually more satisfied with both the process and the outcome than people who use the courts to resolve their disputes.

How do I start mediation?

Each party completes our online intake form found here. You will sign our Family Mediation Agreement at the same time. Please read it before submitting your form. Once we have both intake forms, we will schedule confidential intake meetings with each of you. This will help us focus on whether both parties are ready and willing to participate in good faith negotiation, and what you will need to make the most of mediation.

What happens after intake meetings?

We will want to have a call with your lawyers next, if you have lawyers, or with you, to find out how we can best help you and them get your case settled. We will schedule one or more mediation sessions with you (and your lawyers if you wish) for either a half or a full day. Our flat rate fees can be paid online before each session.

What does a mediator do?

A mediator is a referee, a knowledgeable guide, a source of legal information ( but not legal advice), an impartial and realistic “sounding board”, and an expert in helping people in distress communicate better.

A mediator provides a fair and safe process for people to assess their needs, stay focused, communicate effectively, and find a satisfactory outcome. Mediators are neutral towards all parties but directive when it comes to providing a fair and balanced process.

A mediator will help parties work through proposed solutions to ensure they are realistic and workable. Although a mediator will provide legal information, they cannot give legal advice.

What documents do I need to bring?

We will discuss disclosure requirements at the intake meetings and in the mediation planning call with you or your lawyers. We generally require the same disclosure that a court would require so that both parties can feel confident that they are making informed decisions.

How do I prepare for mediation?

Be prepared. Know your case, and the other party’s case. Read all the materials that have been exchanged. Come ready to negotiate. Be prepared to make proposals. Anticipate what proposals the other party might make and be prepared to respond to them. Bring any professionals you need to help you such as a lawyer or accountant.

What does family mediation cost?

We charge flat rates for intake meetings and flat half and full day rates. Each mediator charges an hourly rate for any additional time. All rates are usually paid equally by the parties. The number of hours or meetings varies widely based on the circumstances of the case. Our fee schedule is linked to your Family Mediation Agreement.

Do I need a lawyer?

Mediation is a legal negotiation. We will need to know that each party fully understands their legal rights and obligations. The best way to do this is to have a lawyer or legal advice. If you are ready to make a deal, we strongly advise you to have a lawyer present so that binding minutes of settlement can be signed during the mediation.

Testimonials

I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank-you for your help and guidance yesterday. You were a very calming presence in the room, in a situation that could have been even more heated than it was at times.

It was a pleasure to have Hilary facilitate a mediation between my ex and myself. I was made to feel comfortable throughout the process. Hilary made sure I understood everything throughout the mediation. I had the opportunity to meet separately with my lawyer or advisor as well as Hilary and her intern and associates all of whom were very capable and knowledgeable. Hilary’s intern eloquently confirmed that it was indeed a successful mediation as each of us left unhappy but relieved that it was over without the tremendous expense of an extensive and expensive trial and continued stress. I felt supported by Hilary throughout and am so grateful for having gone through the mediation process with her and her team.

I wanted to let you know that we have finalized our separation. I have learned much from this experience — the most valuable lesson is: get to know who is the true person you are negotiating with, and then determine the negotiating strategy. Your advice was right on — figure out what is it that I need. Thanks again for your help and all the best to you. I will definitely call on you should we need to go through dispute resolution again.

I really appreciated what you have crafted and the clarity and detail of the draft agreement is reassuring and comforting to me. Thank you.

Thank-you once again for your work and for making calmer heads prevail.

You should know that today you engineered the most civil conversation my ex and I have had in several years.

Read More Testimonials

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