conflict resolution and mediation services

The Mediation Process:


  • Before the mediator and the parties agree to participate in a mediation, the mediator typically offers both parties a free initial consultation (usually for 30 minutes). This enables the mediator and the parties to determine if mediation is an appropriate method to attempt a resolution between the parties.
  • To commence the actual mediation, the parties usually meet separately with the mediator to explain what it is they want to resolve during the mediation. From this, the mediator prepares an agenda to ensure that the concerns of each party are addressed. These pre-mediation meetings also help the mediator to determine the best approach to take when facilitating the mediation.
  • During the pre-mediation meetings, each party may also give the mediator a verbal summary of their side of the dispute to allow the mediator to better understand the full scope of the dispute from the perspective of each party.
  • The parties prepare for mediation in much the same way they would prepare for negotiations, except that the mediator may supervise and facilitate their preparation. Mediations may require the parties to bring position statements, valuation reports, financial documents or other assessments with them into the mediation to use as a reference.
  • The mediator starts the actual mediation by bringing both parties together and explaining how the mediation process works. Rules of behaviour and etiquette are also reviewed to ensure that a respectful and constructive mediation occurs.
  • A mediation session typically lasts two to four hours. There are several breaks throughout the session and opportunities for each party to meet privately with the mediator and/or with their legal counsel (if a party chooses to bring legal counsel into the mediation).
  • During the mediation each side has ample opportunity to present their point of view and tell their side of the story to the other party. The mediator has no decision-making authority and does not take sides.
  • Each party is asked by the mediator to really listen to the other party and understand what the other person is trying to say, even if they do not agree with what is being said.
  • Once each party has been heard, they are asked to think of solutions and try to come up with a mutually agreeable resolution to the conflict. The mediator can be helpful at this point by showing the parties some creative ways of solving the dispute.
  • The mediation may be completed in just one meeting or it may require several meetings in order for the parties to resolve their issues. The time line is entirely dependent upon how long it takes for the parties to reach agreement. If good progress is being made, the parties generally want to continue with additional meetings until they reach a conclusion.
  • Following each mediation session an interim agreement is prepared by the mediator to summarize what was accomplished during the mediation. This is reviewed at the beginning of the next session for any changes, errors or omissions. It also reminds the parties of the progress that has been made so the mediation can move to the next step.
  • There is sometimes homework to be done by the parties between mediation sessions. The parties may be asked to gather financial information, cost estimates and other documents they may need in order to craft an agreement. The parties may also be asked to consult with a lawyer so they are able to discuss their issues from a position of knowledge.
  • In the case of a divorce mediation, the mediator may ask the parties to familiarize themselves with their legal obligations by directing them to public websites which help them calculate child financial support levels, among other things. It may also be necessary for the parties to consult with an accountant or actuary.
  • At the conclusion of the mediation process the mediator usually composes a final document which summarizes what was discussed and agreed upon during the mediation. This may include a list of any items not resolved during the mediation which the parties have decided to work out between themselves outside of the mediation. If the parties do not wish to craft a legally binding agreement between themselves then they may simply use this summary document as a reminder and future reference. The parties do not need to sign this document. The parties may further request that the document specifically state that the results of the mediation are non-binding, non-enforceable and not admissable in any subsequent civil proceeding.
  • In the case of mediations involving divorce, the parties usually take the mediation agreement to their respective lawyers who will draw up the formal divorce papers to complete the divorce process based on what was decided during the mediation.
  • For other conflicts, the parties may wish to make their mediated agreements legally binding by committing them to writing (usually with the help of the mediator or legal counsel for the parties) and then signing them, thus rendering a legally binding agreement. The agreement can also be made admissable in any subsequent civil proceeding. It is strongly advised that the parties seek legal advice before signing any such legally binding agreement developed during their mediation.

Constructive Mediations Inc. has no enforcement powers and does not participate in overseeing the performance of any agreement.