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Separation and divorce

What’s true & what’s false about family mediation

Some myths about family mediation are widespread.
Do you know what’s true and what’s false?

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The mediator will try to get my ex and me to reconcile

FALSE. Mediation is not couples therapy. The mediator helps you engage in dialogue, explore solutions, and reach a mutually satisfactory agreement to reduce the negative consequences of your breakup on yourself, your children, or your property.

For more information about the objectives of mediation, go to Family mediation: the step-by-step process.

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If I go to mediation, I won’t be able to go to court to resolve my dispute with my ex

FALSE. You won’t lose your right to bring an action before the courts just because you’ve taken part in mediation. Family mediation and court are two dispute resolution methods that are available at all times, wherever you are in the process.

To confirm whether mediation is right for you, go to Is family mediation the right option for you?.

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Couples without children can receive free mediation hours

TRUE. Free hours of mediation are available to all couples, whether or not they’re married or have children. The family mediation program of the Ministère de la Justice du Québec offers up to 5 hours of mediation if you have children and up to 3 hours if you have none. If you go over the free number of hours, you must pay a fixed rate of $110 per hour, plus tax.

For more details, go to Family mediation: How much does it cost?.

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Suggesting mediation to my ex means I have to admit that I’m partly to blame

FALSE. Mediation isn't about what you or your ex did or didn't do, but rather what you can do to resolve your disputes.

Far from an admission of weakness, suggesting mediation shows your good faith and your intention to establish an atmosphere of cooperation in your or your children’s interest.

Go to Suggesting mediation to your ex for 5 tips on how to approach the topic.

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I can consult a lawyer during the mediation process

TRUE. At any time during the mediation process, you can talk to a lawyer or a notary to get a legal opinion about your personal situation and to make sure that the agreements you reach respect your rights.

However, these consultations must take place outside the mediation sessions, since lawyers or other experts are not allowed to be present.

You can also talk to other experts such as a financial advisor, actuary, or chartered appraiser, depending on the nature of your dispute.

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My ex must comply with what was agreed in mediation

IT DEPENDS. If you take the necessary steps after mediation, what you and your ex agreed to may be binding on you both.

For more information, go to What to do with your summary of mediated agreements.

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I can refuse to go to mediation

TRUE. Neither of you is obligated to participate in or continue mediation against your will.

However, couples who are separating are encouraged to resolve their disputes out of court if it’s possible in the circumstances.

Go to Is mediation the right option for you? to find out if this dispute resolution process meets your needs.

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The mediator will force me to sign an agreement

FALSE. The mediator cannot force you to enter into an agreement under any circumstances. However, the mediator can suspend or end mediation if he or she considers that it is necessary.

For more information about the role of the mediator, go to How family mediation works and Family mediation: the step-by-step process.

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There can be two mediators at the mediation sessions

TRUE. This is called co-mediation. It can take place only if both you and your ex agree to it. Co-mediation doesn’t mean that you each have your own mediator.

The purpose of two mediators is to enrich the mediation process with guidance from people who have complementary expertise or approaches.

For example, you and your ex might want to combine the legal expertise of a lawyer-mediator with the psychosocial expertise of a social worker-mediator.

The page Choosing your family mediator provides some tips on how to choose a mediator who is best for you.

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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.