Tough Love: What You Need to Know About Family Mediation

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Tough Love: What You Need to Know About Family Mediation

In the early 1990s, we heard Patty Smith declare that sometimes love just ain't enough. As her song became a classic, the meaning echoed in every separating couple's heart. The relationship may start as raging passions and end in torrents of tears.

The separation may be painful for the former lovers, but it is heartbreaking for the children. If kids are involved, it is wise to have a family mediation.

Family mediation will help a couple decide what is best for the children. The former couple may even want to reach a parenting agreement. This document supports a separating couple choosing how to handle issues like custody and visitation. One of the ways people can avoid becoming estranged from their family is to have a family mediation so everyone can talk about what has happened.

The parties may find solutions to keep the children in two homes or at least minimize the distress of their parent's separation. You can learn more about family mediation in this article.

Non-Lawyer Led Mediation

In Alberta, the separating partners can carry out a non-lawyer-led mediation. As the name implies, you take the process outside the court.   

The separating couple meets in a neutral location, like a church, a business building, or a community centre. It is wise to check out the facility ahead of time to ensure it is decent and has private meeting rooms. Some mediators will have strict rules about what you can and cannot do, so it is vital to put it all in writing. 

It is an excellent idea to have an attorney draft a legal contract to include in the family mediation. This document is called a separation agreement, which is legally binding. A legally binding agreement is the first step toward a peaceful future.

During the process, the parties might do the following:

  • To pledge to make an effort to reach mutually acceptable solutions

  • To act in good faith with regards to the sharing of information

  • To create solutions that take into account the interests of both parties

  • The withdrawal of professionals hired by the parties if either client poses an adverse step, which begins court proceedings

Judge-Led Mediation

If the process does not end in mediation, the parties may be advised to begin court proceedings or a judge-led mediation. In this situation, a judge will informally meet both parties (together with their legal counsel).  

The judge will listen to the concerns, suggest a solution and give the parties direction to go with the judge-led mediation. Once an agreement is reached, it will become the basis of the Consent Court Order. 

When a judge-led mediation is ended, the judge can issue a binding JDR (judicial dispute resolution), a legally binding document. This document will guide the parties concerning child custody and visitation rights.


It is not easy to get past divorce or separation. It may be even more challenging to raise children in two homes. However, it is possible to do this peacefully. When the parties work together, all relationships can be carried out cooperatively. 

One of the most effective ways to ensure a peaceful future is to call a family mediation. This procedure may be the solution to a problematic situation.

If you are in the process of separating, you should seek the legal advice of Hamilton Cahoon. As lawyers specializing in family mediation in Medicine Hat, you are guaranteed that we will have your children’s interests at heart, so book an appointment now!