FAQ

Have questions about mediation in Ontario? Read through our FAQs for answers.

What sets us apart from our competitors?

South Simcoe Family Mediation is exclusively dedicated to family mediation. Our experienced and accredited family mediators are highly trained and have extensive training specific to family law matters. We are proud to say we have perfected a process of providing end-to-end divorce and separation services that is streamlined, efficient and affordable. We use state of the art financial disclosure technology that allows our clients to explore different options for dividing their assets after separation. By including the cost of independent legal advice in our mediation packages, we are also able to provide you with a legally binding separation agreement. Most other mediators will only provide you with a mediation report or memorandum of understanding which will then still need to be reviewed with lawyers to be turned into a separation agreement. 

Why should we choose mediation over divorce lawyers in Ontario?

Mediation is a great option for couples who have made a conscious commitment to separate amicably. A trained mediator takes on the role of a neutral third party to guide you both toward a separation agreement you can both live with.

  • Mediation is far more cost-effective: The two of you share the cost of the mediator, which is a small fraction of what you would pay for separate lawyers to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
  • Mediation is a much quicker process: A traditional Ontario divorce can take up to several years to finalize, especially if litigation is involved. If you’re both committed to the process, your mediation can be complete in a matter of weeks.
  • Mediation puts both of you in control: You both get to decide the outcome of your separation. A judge, on the other hand, has limited time and little context surrounding your situation so his or her decisions might not be in your best interests. With mediation, you can make choices that work for everyone.
  • Mediation promotes healthy communication: A mediator gives you the tools you need to communicate with your former partner in constructive ways. We provide a safe, judgement-free virtual space to discuss and resolve issues together.

How does divorce mediation work?
  1. Once you and your partner have decided to explore mediation as an option to finalize your separation, reach out to book a free 20-minute exploratory session. During this virtual call, we’ll listen to your story and explain the mediation process. You and your partner can then make the decision that works for you. https://calendly.com/jennifer-southsimcoemediation/complimentary-consultation
  2. Once you agree to move forward, an agreement to mediate is signed. The mediator will then schedule an individual intake and financial review meeting with each partner, which generally takes 1-1.5 hours. These sessions help us understand your individual priorities and issues and evaluate your suitability for mediation.
  3. After this meeting you will be given access to an easy-to-use, secure online financial disclosure portal where you will be able to upload key financial and other important documentation. These documents provide a complete and accurate picture of your financial situation and will be used to calculate division of assets, support payments, etc.
  4. Once all documentation has been provided, mediation sessions will be scheduled with you and your partner. These sessions, usually 1.5-2 hours in length, are held virtually through a secure, online platform. Each session will ideally focus on a separate issue, e.g., division of assets, child custody, child support, spousal support, parenting plans, etc.
  5. Following each session, progress notes will be provided to each partner for approval. Once all sessions have been completed and approved, your mediator will draft a separation agreement.
  6. After your final separation agreement is complete, each party will then be assigned a separate family law lawyer who will virtually meet with each party to provide independent legal regarding the terms of their mediated separation agreement. Once this appointment has been completed, the lawyer will provide a summary of the meeting as well as a certificate of independent legal advice.
  7. From there, a final closing session will be completed and any necessary changes will be made to the agreement if relevant. The mediator will then assist the parties with applying for a divorce if required.
What should we expect going into the mediation process?

We ask that you come into the mediation process with an open mind and a shared commitment to work through your issues to the best of your abilities. We provide a safe environment through which to share your feelings and voice your concerns. 

We understand this is a very challenging time in your life and emotions can run high. We’ll equip you with the tools to communicate effectively with each other. Our only goal is a mediation agreement that will allow you both to move forward.

 

What documents do we have to disclose as part of the mediation process?

It’s important we have a complete and accurate picture of your financial situation so we can guide productive discussions moving forward. South Simcoe Family Mediation will request access to the following documentation in order to proceed with your mediation, where applicable:

  • Mortgage
  • Personal and/or business bank statements
  • Pensions
  • Life insurance policies
  • Other assets/liabilities
  • Income Tax Returns and Notice of Assessment

We require this documentation within 15 days of the signed agreement to get the mediation process started. 

 

What if we can’t come to an agreement through mediation?
During the initial intake appointment with each partner, we’ll determine whether mediation is a viable alternative in your situation. Should the mediator recommend you seek legal counsel, you will only be charged for your intake appointment.
Though the mediator will do her very best to provide you with the tools and space to communicate effectively, there are times when mediation simply doesn’t work. In those cases, you will only be required to pay for the time you have used.
How many mediation sessions will it take to reach an agreement?

The number of mediation sessions required depends on a variety of factors including the number of issues that need to be resolved, whether or not children are involved, your commitment to the process, etc. The average mediation process can be completed in three sessions.

How much does mediation cost?

South Simcoe Family Mediation offers all-inclusive separation and divorce packages. Our packages range from $995.00- $2995.00 per person. We also offer a fee-for-service model at a rate of $225 per hour (for example if only mediation is needed). Our fees are competitively in line with the rates of mediators across Canada. The hours required to successfully complete a mediation vary from client to client. We remain committed to reaching an agreement quickly and efficiently. Please contact us for more detailed pricing.

 

Is the mediation agreement we reach legally binding in Ontario?
Once you have reached an agreement you can both agree on, it must be reviewed with a lawyer to be legally binding. Our compete separation and divorce mediation package includes independent legal counsel to finalize your mediation agreement into a legally binding separation agreement. From there, you can apply for a divorce in Ontario.
Do you provide in-person mediation?

At this time, South Simcoe Family Mediation only provides online mediation services in Ontario through a secure meeting platform. This gives you and your partner the opportunity to call in from separate locations and provides for a more neutral environment for discussion. Furthermore, virtual mediation sessions eliminate the potential spread of COVID-19. You’ll need a reliable Internet connection, microphone and camera to participate effectively.

Are your mediation services confidential and secure?

Yes! To create a safe, fair and neutral environment, South Simcoe family mediation only offers closed mediation services. This means that everything that is discussed during mediation sessions is private and confidential within the limits of the law.  All offers and discussions are without prejudice and cannot be used against either party in future proceedings. Only the items that the parties agree upon will be entered into the mediation agreement.

Our online platform is password protected so that only you, your partner and the mediator have access to the call. Furthermore, we use a secure and encrypted online platform for document sharing.

Legal Disclaimer

The information contained on this website is not meant to replace legal advice. We strongly recommend each partner seek the legal advice of an attorney in Ontario before signing a mediation agreement.