Michelle Roy spent almost two hours today with Shahab Sulaman (aspiring professional photographer) taking photographs for Solace Settlement Services’ new and improved website. Looking forward to seeing the photographs he selects. Even managed to take some photographs depicting a family mediation. Thanks to Chris and Tracey for their assistance.
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Solace Settlement Services is dedicated to helping clients find solace by resolving their family law issues out of court. Founder Michelle Roy assists clients to reach creative resolutions of their family law issues that best meet their goals and concerns through settlement negotiation and mediation. She also provides arbitration and domestic violence screening services.
I am happy to announce that effective January 3, 2011 the main office of Solace Settlement Services has moved to 2300 Yonge Street, Suite 2901 (Yonge and Eglinton). For your convenience, settlement meetings, mediations and arbitrations can continue to be booked at one of three additional locations: 25 Sheppard West, 1200 Bay Street or 330 Bay Street.
I am further happy to announce that after completing a 100 hour mediation internship with Hilary Linton of Riverdale Mediation and Dr. Barbara Jo Fidler, I am now an Accredited Family Mediator with the Ontario Association for Family Mediation.
Michelle Roy, Family Law Lawyer, Mediator and Arbitrator
Founder of Solace Settlement Services
Solace Settlement Services is moving! Effective October 1, 2010 the main office of Solace Settlement Services will be 25 Sheppard Avenue West, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario.
For your convenience, mediations and arbitrations can be booked at 25 Sheppard Avenue West, 1200 Bay Street (Yorkville) and 330 Bay Street (Financial District).
Looking forward to you seeing our new office space!
I encourage you to ask any questions you may have about the family mediation process and why you should consider mediating the family law issues that arose after you and your spouse separated.
For the next 10 days, I am going to be publishing 10 reasons why you should consider mediation rather than going to court to resolve the family law issues that arose after you and your spouse separated. Here is the first reason:
As you and your spouse mutually agree to mediate your issues, you can have more confidence that your spouse is negotiating in good faith and equally wants to resolve your issues. If you are able to communicate effectively with each other during the mediation process, you are more likely to be able to effectively communicate and resolve future issues and disputes.
Mediation is a process whereby spouses voluntarily and jointly retain an impartial, professionally trained mediator (often an experienced Family Law lawyer) to assist them in resolving their disputed Family Law issues. The mediator’s role is to act as a facilitator, to help the spouses reach a fair and mutually acceptable agreement.
The mediator can’t provide an opinion, take sides, or make decisions for the spouses. It’s also not the mediator’s role to give legal advice.
Before mediation begins, the spouses must decide whether the mediation will be open or closed. In open mediation, the mediator may be asked by either spouse to write a full report on what happened during the mediation, including the reasons why it was or was not successful. If the mediation isn’t successful and the case proceeds to a court trial, the report may be taken into consideration by the trial judge. In addition, the mediator could be required by either spouse to testify in court.
In closed mediation, the information exchanged between the spouses is kept confidential.
The mediator’s report will only state whether an agreement was reached. Neither spouse can request that the mediator testify in court.
Often the mediator will meet with both spouses together just to hear each spouse’s positions on the disputed issues. When the parties are ready to begin negotiating but where there is hostility between the spouses, he or she will separate the spouses into different rooms. The mediator can then shuttle between the two spouses to negotiate an agreement. Parties who are unhappy with the mediation process can leave it at any time. It won’t affect your legal rights or options.
At the conclusion of a successful mediation, the terms of the settlement must be put into writing and signed at the mediation.
These terms can subsequently be incorporated into a formal Separation Agreement. Mediators are required to advise and encourage clients to seek Independent Legal Advice before finalizing any binding agreement.
Mediation is voluntary and isn’t appropriate for everyone, particularly in cases where there has been a history of violence or abuse. Where one party is afraid of or intimidated by their spouse/partner, mediation will likely not be a viable option.
In order to ensure that cases are appropriate for mediation, mediators are required to screen their clients to ensure that:
- abuse hasn’t occurred that has rendered either party incapable of mediating
- no harm will come to either party or the children as a result of mediating
- the parties’ desire to mediate is voluntary
- any inequality in bargaining power can be managed so as to ensure that negotiations are balanced and procedurally fair
- parties are psychologically ready to mediate and have the capacity to do so
- the complexity of the case doesn’t exceed the mediator’s education, training, and competence