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Do you need legal advice before, during or after family mediation?

Throughout the process of family mediation, your mediator may suggest that you obtain independent legal advice, or ILA for short.

As a family mediator, I follow the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO) Standards of Practice for FDR Professionals.  Throughout the commentary for these standards, it mentions the importance of the parties to obtain ILA.

As a neutral third party, family mediators offer legal information to the parties, not legal advice.  It is up to the parties to make sure they understand “their rights and responsibilities to each other, their children and affected third parties.”  (FDRIO Standards of Practice).  A lawyer will give you advice on your situation.  This is important to have to make sure when you are in the mediation room, you understand what you are negotiating with – what you could gain and lose.

When you get a lawyer for ILA, both parties need their own; you cannot share.

Do not expect a lawyer to just ‘rubber stamp’ the agreement you come up with.  A lawyer wouldn’t be doing their job if they did that. Expect them to give you a comprehensive analysis of the pros and cons.  In the end, it is up to you what you accept in mediation.

To find a lawyer, many of whom give a free consultation, you can go to the Law Society of Ontario –

To see the FDRIO Standards of Practice for FDR Professionals –

Whitaker Mediation Ltd. is available to provide family mediation for your separation, divorce, or other matter.  Please contact us for a free consultation so you can decide if mediation is for you.