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FAQs - Family Matters Mediators and Counsellors

In Ontario, anybody can call themselves a Family Mediator as daunting as this sounds. Mediators that are accredited have educational instruction in Family Law, Mediation Theory and Practice, Domestic Violence, Family Systems, and other relative training. They have also successfully completed an intensive and long internship under the direct supervision of a seasoned and fully accredited Family Mediator. Accredited Mediators are bound by a code of ethics and are required to obtain numerous hours of continuing education annually.

Lawyers are the only professionals who can legally advise you of your rights and obligations. Mediators are not permitted to give parties legal advice. It is highly recommended that each party obtain independent legal advice prior to commencing the mediation process. Good decisions are only made when you are fully armed with knowledge. Once negotiations are complete and you have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA), your lawyers will review your agreements with you, and put them into a Separation agreement.

It is important to think of your children’s needs, their individual ages and stages of development. Parents should also look at the proximity of their homes to each other, their work schedules, and so on. There is no one size fits all approach. In addition; children’s needs change as they grow, and life changes happen. Good Parenting Plans should outline how changes will be made to the Parenting Plan if changes must be made in order to ensure the best interests of the children are met.

The Child support payment was designed to cover the three basic costs involved in raising children which are food, shelter, and clothing. Children have additional expenses which are referred to as Section 7 expenses in Ontario. Section 7’s can include daycare costs, school trips, therapists not covered under OHIP, large ticket items such as computers and sporting equipment, extra- curricular activities and more.

Mediation sessions are billed at an hourly rate. There is an additional cost to prepare the Memorandum of Understanding. Most cases start to finish (which can include both the Parenting Plan Memorandums and the Financial agreement) fall roughly in the $2000- $3000 range, with the fees shared equally between the parties. Final fees will be dependent on the number of hours required per individual case.

I am one of the few Family Mediators who has both the Child Development training and the Divorce Financial training. Most have one or the other. I am empathetic and warm, and I put the needs of the children first. My goal is to assist family’s reach mutually satisfying solutions quickly and cost effectively.

Personally; I am a divorced Mother of two grown daughters. one who has special needs. My complex combination of both my personal and professional experience allows me to understand Separation and Divorce issues from a multitude of perspectives.

My Mediation training began when I took my first Masters level course in Mediation during my MSW studies. I supplemented by learning by spending 8 months as a Mediation practicum student in Peel Ontario at the Brampton Family courthouse. I am still involved with the court based mediation program today as I am a voluntary presenter for the Mandatory Information Program (MIP) at the Family Court which teaches parties about the various types of alternative dispute resolution processes along with high-conflict co parenting research pertaining to how to best co-parent children post separation.

Through my training; I am able to calculate support payments and equalization payments. I use a computer monitor in my sessions for clients to view as I input the figures so that clients can easily look at the outcomes of various financial arrangements. This helps them to make the best decisions for themselves.

I am an accredited Family Mediator with the OAFM and I am a registered Social Worker with both the OCSWSSW and the OASW. I have worked with families in all areas pertaining to Separation and Divorce since 2007. In my Mediation practice, I work alongside parties to create child focused agreements that best meet the needs of their children. Through both my clinical practice and my formal training, I have a solid understanding of the complexities of parenting, including parenting children with exceptionalities and special needs.

Mediation is an beneficial way for parties to resolve their issues when they want control of their futures, they want to reduce the level of conflict, they want to keep their money in their family rather than in the court’s pocket, and they want quick resolutions to their family matters . For most families, Mediation is a good way to settle their issues. There are times though when Mediation is not appropriate. For Mediation to take place, both parties must be in agreement. Parties should be able to comfortably speak up for themselves in order to ensure that they are able to state their needs and negotiate effectively. There are times when there are power imbalances and/or a history of Domestic Violence. Through methodical screening, the Mediator will decide if mediation is appropriate.