Mediation allows parents/guardians to work with a trained mediator to try and come to an arrangement regarding the children’s living arrangements. The Alberta Courts’ Family Mediation Service offers mediation services free if you have a child/children under eighteen years old and you or the other party makes less than $40,000 per year.
How Mediation Works
During mediation the mediator will first meet with each party individually to gather information from both sides about the dispute and see whether mediation will work for them. After these meetings the mediator may bring the two parties together and try and lead the parties to agree on issues such as; how the child(ren) will share time with each parent, who will make day-to-day decisions for the child(ren) and how much money will each party pay to support the child(ren). The mediator cannot make any decision himself/herself but only guides the parties towards reaching their own agreements. Mediation Services are currently available through Court Services in Edmonton, Calgary and Rural Alberta.
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation is totally confidential and any information gathered during mediation cannot be used in any court action. When parties use mediation to come to an agreement it is often more accepted and longer lasting than those decisions handed down by the courts. Also, mediation usually costs less money and concludes faster than trials.
Should the mediation not prove successful, i.e. the parties are unable to resolve the issue of custody or access, the parties in Family Court can be recommended for custody, access assessment. A list of names of qualified professionals is available to the parties and from this list they chose a name (psychologist or social worker) that they agree could prepare a report for court purposes. The cost of the assessment is divided equally between the parties and one or both parties may qualify for a subsidy.