Justice and Public Safety

Family Justice Services Division

Dispute Resolution

Dispute resolution is a way to work out legal disputes outside the court process. Mediation is a form of dispute resolution. It occurs when two or more people talk to a neutral person (a mediator) and explore ways to reach an agreement. This process gives people the power to make their own decisions and to settle problems out of court.

FJS offers mediation in the following areas of family law:

  • custody
  • access
  • child support

Once a court application or a Request for Service is received at FJS, the parties will be contacted by a Family Justice mediator to arrange an individual appointment (Intake). Some of the topics discussed at Intake include:

  • Assessment of safety issues and concerns
  • Past and present parenting arrangements
  • Financial support for children
  • Communication between parents
  • Possible contact with other professionals including a lawyer
  • Outstanding issues between parents
  • Detailed discussion of individual concerns
  • Discussions of options for Dispute Resolution
  • Counselling services
  • Other issues

At Intake, both parties are informed of the next steps in the Dispute Resolution process and how mediation will proceed.

During mediation, a FJS mediator will keep discussions on track and define issues from both party’s perspectives. He/she will help with communication, assist parties in brainstorming, evaluate opinions and help the parties reach their own agreement.

There are no fees charged for dispute resolution services.

Safety issues for both children and parents will always be a primary consideration and will be a priority when determining the appropriate type of dispute resolution. The service is concerned about providing a safe process for the clients (children, parents) and our staff. Safety is continuously monitored and assessed throughout the FJS process.

FJS mediators remain neutral and do not provide legal advice. It is recommended that parties obtain independent legal advice.

If an agreement is reached, the mediator and parties may discuss the options regarding whether the agreement is to be formalized in writing and/or to be filed with the Court. Parties are encouraged to seek legal advice on all agreements. If a full agreement is not reached, all or just the outstanding issues can go before the court.


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