You will be asked to attend For the Sake of the Children, an information program to learn more about the separation process and the needs of children during separation. You will also learn more about mediation and other services. Mediation occurs through meetings with both parents in attendance. Individual interviews may be held in addition to joint sessions.
It generally takes about three to four meetings to reach agreement with each session lasting about one and one-half hours.
Mediation is strictly confidential except where information gained during mediation indicates that a child is at risk or has been abused or neglected.
Successful mediation results in a written parenting agreement that spells out, in detail, arrangements regarding the children. It can be tailor-made to the needs of the family members.
Copies of the agreement may be provided to your lawyers.
find new ways of building trust, respect and confidence in each other; and
talk with professionals who have considerable knowledge and experience working with children from separated families.
Through mediation, parents often feel more committed to agreements they make themselves than those imposed by the courts.
Children are likely to adjust better to separation if they know their parents still care for them and are involved in making decisions about their future. In this way, children will continue to feel loved and protected by both parents.
The mediation process can help parents develop healthier ways of communicating. It may also be a way to continue discussing your children's changing needs and how to respond to them.
Mediation generally focuses on the present and the future. This reduces the risk of allowing past sensitive or emotional issues to interfere with your ability to make appropriate decisions for your children.
Sometimes parents are not able to reach an agreement, even with the help of a mediator.
More time may be needed to resolve feelings of hurt, anger or distrust before a mediated settlement can be reached. You may want to look at other alternatives or ways of complementing the mediation process by:
All the above information applies to Comprehensive Co-Mediation. Differences between Comprehensive Co-Mediation and Mediation are:
A family law Lawyer-Mediator and a Family Relations Mediator will work as a team with parents to help them resolve their issues.
Legal information will be given to mediation participants but no legal or other advice will be provided.
In some cases the mediation may occur in a sequence whereby the participants mediate their family issues with a Family Relations Mediator and their property and support issues with a Lawyer-Mediator at separate times.
Mediation is available through Family Conciliation Services of Manitoba Family Services. Family Conciliation Services also works closely with the Family Division of the Court of Queen's Bench to resolve child custody and access issues.