Shirley Vandersteen, Ph.D. has received accredited training in providing professional mediation services and is a member of Alberta Family Mediation Society and Family Mediation Canada. She is a Registered Psychologist in private practice and has a wide range of knowledge and experience in working with people in conflict.

 

 

THE MEDIATION PROCESS

Mediation is a voluntary settlement process. Mediation allows both parties to identify and participate fully in making the decisions that affect their lives. Settlement options are explored in a fair, confidential, and constructive atmosphere. Decisions are made which enable each person to achieve the best possible agreement. Each person’s issues and concerns are valued and form the basis of decisions. Both parties remain in control of the decisions that are made; the mediator does not impose any decisions or resolutions.

 

HOW MEDIATION WORKS

The goal of mediation is to assist both parties to negotiate a fair agreement that meets their needs. The mediator enables the parties to fully explore their circumstances in terms of issues and concerns. Relevant and necessary information is gathered to clarify the issues to be resolved and to support each party in making well informed decisions. Expert financial or legal consultation is sought when appropriate.

The outcome of mediation is a written agreement regarding each issue identified and addressed during the course of the mediation process. This agreement is not a legal document but is often incorporated into legal proceedings when applicable.

CHOOSING MEDIATION

Although the primary goal of mediation is to reach agreement, mediation also offers these benefits:

  • Promotes ongoing cooperation and teaches effective problem solving strategies.
  • Allows the parties to remain in control of the decisions that affect their lives.
  • Encourages both parties to act in the best interests of the children.
  • Avoids costly, lengthy, and sometimes bitter litigation that destroys relationships.
  • Allows both parties to resolve their differences in a confidential and safe atmosphere.
  • Offers an efficient method of reaching agreement so that both parties can move forward in their lives.

WHEN TO CHOOSE MEDIATION

MARITAL SEPARATION: Even though a decision to divorce may not have been reached, a couple often realizes that many issues affecting the family need to be temporarily resolved. Separating couples will choose mediation to develop a personalized separation agreement that addresses individual, family, and financial concerns.

DIVORCE: If a decision to divorce has been made, mediation will help both parties to negotiate this very difficult transition. Conflicts addressed in divorce mediation may include: custody and parenting arrangements, child and spousal support, and property and debt division.

Mediation will assist the parties to resolve their immediate concerns and help to build the foundation for long-term agreements to meet the changing needs of the family.

POST DIVORCE: When unplanned changes occur that impact support or parenting arrangements, mediation can help to re-negotiate agreements.

FAMILY DISPUTES: Families will choose mediation to address conflicts in various areas such as: financial disputes, inheritance disputes, ownership/management disputes, parent – child conflicts, and parenting disputes.

THE SERVICES OFFERED BY CHVBV

Shirley Vandersteen, Ph.D. has received accredited training in providing professional mediation services and is a member of Alberta Family Mediation Society and Family Mediation Canada. She is a Registered Psychologist in private practice and has a wide range of knowledge and experience in working with people in conflict.

MEDIATION STRUCTURE AND FEES

It is often difficult to predict how long mediation will take because it depends on the number of issues addressed during the mediation process. Generally, there are between two to eight meetings. The meetings last approximately two hours each. The mediator will be able to be more specific at the conclusion of the introductory meeting.

Each person is responsible for one-half of the total costs unless the parties agree to alternative arrangements. The fee for the introductory meeting is to be paid prior to the first session. A retainer is submitted in advance by each party, prior to the commencement of the mediation process.