Family Mediation – A Step Towards Healing the Family and Healthier Relationships

This paper highlights why family mediation speeds up the process of healing the family and leads spouses towards healthier relationships after a separation. It will also provide information on how to find resources about “family mediation Toronto”.

Separating spouses usually have built up anger and disappointment. These generally, are the result of years of unhappiness, communication difficulties and disagreements. Usually, both spouses experience a sense of fear for their future, fear of losing a connection with their children, or a fear of not getting a fair deal during the legal separation process. A separation heightens spouses’ built up resentment, anger or disappointment in their partner.

Spouses are also generally petrified of what the legal process will do to them because they know a friend, colleague or family member that suffered emotionally and financially, when they went through a legal separation.

If these vulnerable, fearful people are sent to court, this will likely happen:

  • spouses are more likely to instruct their lawyers to adopt positions from a place of anger and resentment;
  • there will be very limited opportunity for peaceful communication between spouses;
  • people usually blame the other spouse for the fact that they are stuck in a scary process where they have no control over the process or the outcome;
  • spouses rarely get to work together because of the adversary nature of the court process.

If these vulnerable, fearful people are sent to family mediation, this will likely happen:

  • spouses will be invited to learn some communication skills;
  • family mediation allows the spouses to speak to one another, face to face, in a safe environment;
  • a good family mediator will help each spouse to identify their goals and interests. Once these have been identified, the family mediator will help each spouse understand the goals and interests of the other spouse in a non-threatening manner, and will then encourage the spouses to reach agreements that satisfy the interests of both;
  • the spouses are also asked by the family mediator to work together to create outcomes that take into consideration the best interests of the children;
  • with mediation services, spouses control the legal outcomes of their separation.

The adversarial nature of court proceedings will invariably delay the process of healing the family because there is little space for spouses to learn how to have healthier relationships with one another during the process. I would even argue that some families never develop healthier relationships even long after the court process has finished due to the relationship damages caused by the adversarial process.

On the other hand, when people are allowed to express how they feel, what they want and why they want what they want through mediation services, there is a real chance that the process of healing the family will commence. If spouses experience their separation with mediation services, they will learn to develop healthier relationships with one another right from the start of the process. Healing the family from a separation starts with giving each spouse the opportunity to feel safe and to make decisions for their future in family mediation; a non-threatening environment.

To find a good family mediator or resources about “family mediation Toronto”, look for family law lawyers trained in interest-based negotiation. Lawyer mediators who are trained in collaborative law tend to practice interest-based negotiation, which enhances mediation services. You can find resource for “family mediation Toronto” by looking at the list of the collaboratively trained lawyers who advertise as practicing mediation at www.collaborativepracticetoronto.com.  Another resource for “family mediation Toronto” is at www.oafm.on.ca.

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