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Family mediation services are designed to help people resolve their differences without the need for costly and stressful litigation. Mediation can be used to settle disputes about marriage, divorce, separation, custody, access to children, property division, restraining orders, elder care, family budgeting, and many other issues that arise in the course of a relationship breakdown.

A qualified Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) practitioner is trained to listen objectively and impartially to both parties in dispute and will guide the discussion. The process can be conducted in person or over the phone or internet. A successful outcome of a mediation can lead to a court order that will be legally binding. It is recommended that participants both get independent legal advice from a family lawyer before attending FDR to make sure the agreement reached in mediation is fair and will be enforceable by a court of law.

Mediation is not appropriate for situations involving violence or the threat of harm. People who have experienced domestic abuse or fear for their safety should consider talking to a counsellor or family law specialist about their options.

In most cases, you and the other party will meet with the mediator in a private room where you will be encouraged to discuss the issues that you need to resolve. The mediator will help you to find solutions that are best for your situation and the well-being of your children. Often, the mediator will work with you to create a parenting plan that will help you co-parent together and communicate effectively. The mediator will also check that you both understand what you have agreed to in mediation. A memorandum of understanding will be written to document what you have discussed.

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