Why should you seek legal counsel in addition to or in place of mediation?

A gavel is in-front of a Red Deer business lawyer

There are many different options available to people to negotiate their issues upon separation. One of these options is to participate in mediation. Mediation involves negotiating a resolution with the assistance of a neutral third party who may or may not be a lawyer. While this process can certainly assist many people in resolving their issues, it often results in agreements that are not properly finalized or binding.

Imagine a scenario where you and your former spouse attend mediation and make an agreement on any number of issues (child support, custody, parenting, spousal support, and property division). After mediation, you follow the terms of the agreement you reached. Then imagine being served with a Court Application asking for something different than what you had agreed upon many months or years after participating in mediation. Then imagine finding out that you are unable to rely on the agreement that you and your former spouse arrived at in mediation because it was not finalized into a binding legal agreement. You are then left in a position where you are required to re-negotiate all the issues you had thought were already resolved.

Another concerning scenario is spending a significant period of time and money engaging in mediation, coming to an agreement, and finding out afterwards that even though you and your former spouse agree, that the Court will not enforce the agreement you reached.

These kinds of situations are much more common than most people would expect. This is why it is very important to hire your own independent lawyer to ensure that your best interests are protected and that all relevant factors are addressed before, during, and after your participation in mediation.

Collaborative law is an attractive alternative option for parties who wish to keep their differences out of Court and resolve the issues on their own with the assistance of lawyers throughout the process. This process allows parties who have an open mind and are willing to compromise to reach an all-inclusive and legally binding Agreement. Sometimes, collaborative law is less expensive than mediation with lawyers, as you eliminate the cost of the neutral third-party mediator.

Both mediation and collaborative law allow you to avoid the Court process and preserve family relationships and finances. Please feel free to contact us for further information today!