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Separation and divorce

Is family mediation the right option for you?

What can be accomplished through family mediation? Who is it for? How can you find out if it’s the right process for your situation? Here’s what you need to know to help you decide whether mediation will let you settle the issues surrounding your separation or divorce.

What is family mediation for?

The division of property and debts, parenting schedules, support… sometimes it’s difficult to reach an agreement with your ex on all the consequences of your separation or divorce.

Mediation provides you with a neutral space for discussion where a mediator offers guidance to facilitate dialogue and identify your needs.

The mediator’s role is not to determine who’s right and who’s wrong, but to help you and your ex reach an agreement that works for you both.

Who is family mediation for?

Family mediation is for people who want to avoid going to court for their separation or divorce.

You can participate in family mediation whether you’re married or in a de facto partnership, and whether or not you have children.

Parents who have already separated can also use mediation to modify past agreements, for example to find common ground on a new parenting schedule or on a change to child support.

However, there are certain situations where mediation is not recommended. This is usually the case if:

  • there is an unequal balance of power between the parties,
  • one of the parties exercises some control over the other,
  • there is domestic violence.

If you believe you’re in one of these situations, you can go to a Community Justice Centre and use their free Info-Separation service. A lawyer or notary can help you determine whether mediation is appropriate in your situation and show you all your available options.

Info-Separation service (Community Justice Center)

When should you go to mediation?

You can start mediation at any time. Even if you’ve already started legal proceedings, you can suspend them and go to mediation. If mediation doesn't work, you can go back to court to have a judge decide. You don’t lose this right because you’ve gone to mediation.

A free tool to find the best solution for you

Mediation is not the only way to reach an agreement. Other options are available to settle disputes arising from your separation or divorce.

To find out if family mediation is right for you, it’s best to evaluate all your available options.

To this end, Community Justice Centres have created an interactive questionnaire to help you compare these different solutions and decide which one suits you best: Let’s settle this - French only (Community Justice Centers)

Did you know?

Since 2016, the law requires you to consider using private dispute prevention and resolution processes such as mediation before beginning legal proceedings.

 

En apprendre plus

Obligation to consider private dispute prevention and resolution processes (Gouvernement du Québec)

Resources

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Warning

The information presented on this page is not a legal opinion or legal advice. This page explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. To obtain a legal opinion or legal advice on your personal situation, consult a legal professional.