Frequently asked questions and resources

FAQ’s

Q: How long does mediation take?

This is highly dependent on your flexibility and the number of issues that need to be mediated, but as a general rule, you can expect to have between 2-6 meetings over a period of 1-6 months.

Q: My partner doesn’t want to attend mediation, can I force them to come?

Unfortunately, no. Mediation is a voluntary process and you cannot force the other person to mediate. You can, however, encourage the ‘which option is right for me’ on this page be reviewed. If he/she is still unwilling to discuss mediation, you may need to talk to your lawyer about what other options are available for moving the process forward.

Q: How much will mediation cost?

Some mediation practices bill a flat rate for mediation services, however in my practice I will only bill you for the hours that I actually spend meeting with you or working on your file. If you would prefer a flat rate quote I’d be happy to provide one after a consultation. The cost to you is strictly dependent on the number of hours that we spend together; and this is dependent on 1) the number of topics that need to be mediated and 2) whether or not you would like me to draft your legal Separation Agreement on your behalf. Please contact me to review options specific to your situation in order for me to give you a better idea of cost.

Q: Can my lawyer attend mediation with me?

This is entirely up to you. I encourage clients to have as much or as little contact with their lawyer as they need throughout the mediation process in order to feel comfortable with the decisions they are making. If you feel more comfortable bringing a lawyer into the mediation process, you are welcome to do so. Should you choose to have a lawyer present during the mediation process, the other party will also likely want a lawyer present, which will considerably increase the cost of the process as you will each be paying for your lawyers time in addition to the cost of mediation. Having said that, the cost is still considerably less than the cost of litigation and this is certainly an option.

Q: When can I apply for a divorce?

The law states that you can apply for a divorce 1-year after date of separation. A Separation Agreement will outline what happens to your assets, your incomes and your children during the in-between stages of separation and divorce

Q: We agree on everything, do I need a lawyer?

Even if you are able to agree on everything in mediation without engaging a lawyer, should you want your Separation Agreement made into a legally binding document, you will need to see a lawyer to obtain a certificate of independent legal advice. I can draft the Separation Agreement on your behalf, but without a certificate of independent legal advice, it will not be legally binding. Whether you need a formal separation agreement or not is dependent on your specific situation, and I’d be happy to discuss further with you.

Q: We agree on everything, do we still need mediation?

Many people are surprised at the amount of detail required for a comprehensive Separation Agreement. Often clients will attend mediation with an ‘idea’ about how they would like to proceed, or even the bare bones of an Agreement to help move the process along. Mediation ensures that you are on the same page about details that you may not have considered. The best way to avoid disagreements in the future is to have a conversation about future expectations in the present.

Other Resources

Andrea LaRochelle

High conflict communication strategist
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Alberta Family Mediaton Society

For information on mediation, and for a list of registered mediators in your area
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Collaborative Lawyers

To find a list of the collaborative lawyers practicing in Calgary (or elsewhere in Western Canada)
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Government Assistance:

Family Justice Services staff work directly with individuals to find appropriate solutions for family law issues
Telephone: 403-297-6981
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Maintenance Enforcement Program Alberta

If you have a divorce judgment or other court order for child support, you can register it with Maintenance Enforcement
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PAS and FOCIS

Parenting After Separation (PAS)
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Focus on Communication in Separation (FOCIS)
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Child Support Guidelines

Information on the Canadian Government Child Support Guidelines
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Emergency Contacts

If you are in an abusive situation contact the Sheriff King Home
Telephone: (403) 266-0707
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