Family Law Mediation

Mediation is where you and your partner meet together with a Mediator to reach a resolution.  You can do this on your own, or sometimes have your lawyers come too.  Mediation is best used when you feel able to cooperate and compromise in order to resolve your differences, with professional support to ensure that communication is respectful and productive.   Jennifer is a Lawyer-Mediator certified and insured by the Law Society of British Columbia to mediate your family law matter.

Clients Only Mediation

Just you and your partner meet with your Mediator, either in person or by Skype.  You may have lawyers that you have consulted, but they do not attend the sessions.

In the sessions the Mediator:

  • helps you determine the issues that you need to address
  • informs you about how the law applies to these issues
  • gathers the information that you need to make the most informed decisions
  • helps you create and evaluate your various decision options
  • assists you to choose what options are best for yourselves, and your children
  • drafts a legally binding and enforceable agreement based upon those decisions

The sessions are private and confidential.  The cost is by the hour and the expense is usually shared. The Mediator produces minutes from each meeting so that you can track your progress and perhaps choose to review it with your lawyer.  Once you have reached agreement, the Mediator will draft the contract and encourage you and your partner to obtain independent legal advice before you sign it.  The Mediator can recommend lawyers who will provide this service for you at a fixed price.

If you and your partner are right for mediation, this can be a very cost-effective and satisfying option.  Please contact us if you wish to schedule a consultation appointment to discuss mediation.  You and your partner will each have a separate session with the Mediator before commencing mediation so that she can screen for family violence issues and suitability for mediation.  This session takes about an hour and there is a fixed cost for the service

Lawyer Assisted Mediation

Sometimes you will want your lawyer to attend mediation with you as an additional support and a source of ready legal advice.   Sometimes you and your partner will both already have lawyers who have been negotiating for you and you may have become “stuck”.  You may even be on the eve of a trial or contested hearing and are worried about the costs of that hearing and having a judge make decisions for your family which may not be satisfactory to either of you.

The Mediator can work with you and your lawyers to assist you in reaching agreement on some or all of your outstanding issues.  We meet to identify the outstanding issues and collaborate on a process to reach agreement.

Speak to your lawyer about whether this service may be of assistance on your file.

Family Law Arbitration

Arbitration is most appropriate when you are unable to resolve your differences by agreement and you want a fair and efficient process to get a decision so that you can get on with your lives.  Jennifer is a Lawyer-Arbitrator certified and insured by the Law Society of British Columbia to arbitrate your family law matter.  This means that she can decide the issue for you.

If having a third party decision-maker becomes inevitable, it is important to proceed as fairly and expeditiously as possible.  If this approach might work for you, please contact us for a consultation appointment.

Why choose arbitration

  • you can schedule the hearing at a time of your choosing, and usually more quickly than a court hearing
  • you can design a process which is more efficient and therefore less time consuming and less costly than a regular court hearing
  • you can be assured that the hearing will be in private
  • you can create a process of Mediation-Arbitration whereby you first attempt to agree to as many issues as possible before proceeding to have a neutral third party make that decision for you.

What can we arbitrate?

You can arbitrate your entire case: children, property, spousal support, child support: whatever you need to resolve.  Or you can arbitrate a single issue such as:

  • determining parenting time on Christmas holidays
  • valuing a single asset or assets such as a company
  • fixing incomes for support purposes
  • deciding whether there is entitlement to spousal support or if support should end
  • resolving how adult children should be financially supported
  • finalizing a property division

Family Law Collaboration

Collaboration is most appropriate when you want to meet together to resolve your differences, but you could benefit from more support than mediation can provide.  That team can include:

  • a lawyer for each party
  • coaches for communication and emotional issues
  • a child specialist for children’s issues
  • a financial advisor for financial issues

If you are interested in this approach, we can provide names of other collaborative lawyers which your partner may wish to consult.  For more information, please look at the local websites:

Victoria: www.collaborativefamilylawgroup.com
Vancouver: www.collaborativedivorcebc.com

Or contact us for a consultation appointment.

Why choose collaboration

The collaborative process can be transformational – enhancing your communication skills and creating a synergy that results in superior outcomes.  Collaboration will allow you and your partner to build a plan for the future rather than just deconstructing the past.  If there are children it places their interests more prominently.   The process encourages creativity and innovation.  The multi-disciplinary approach provides expert advice in all areas.  It teaches people how to deal with the issues and rebuild trust.

What can we collaborate about

Collaboration is well suited for resolving issues arising from the dissolution of a relationship: separation and divorce.  It is useful for both marriages and common-law relationships and including same sex relationships.  It is especially useful when establishing a new relationship as it is a softer, gentler method of resolving the issues around what should be in a cohabitation agreement or prenuptial agreement.

Family Law Consultation

If you are not sure what process you would like to follow, or you would like answers to specific legal questions, you can schedule a one-time family law assessment consultation.  This consultation is private, confidential, and no-obligation.   We provide these in person, by telephone, or on Skype.  You should allow 1 to 1½ hours.  There is a flat fee for this service.

Why have a consultation

When approaching any problem, knowledge is power.  Understand your options, and make your best choice.  Do it in an environment which is governed by absolute confidentiality.

Schedule a consultation

Email me at: jennifer@cooperfamilylaw.ca or my assistant at: noelle@cooperfamilylaw.ca
Or telephone me at: 250.580.5070 or my assistant Noelle at: 250.580.5034

Your life change. Our commitment.

“I will use all my skills and experience to help you obtain a conclusion to your family law dispute which is fair, open, and honest.”

JENNIFER A. COOPER, Q.C.

LAWYER   •   MEDIATOR  •  ARBITRATOR

LET’S GET STARTED

We first like to meet our new clients for a one-time family law assessment consultation.
We can answer specific legal questions and help you decide what legal process to follow.
Your consultation is private and confidential.
You should allow 1 – 1 ½ hours.
There is a flat fee for this service.

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