A family mediator helps ex-partners, married or not, reach an agreement on family matters during their separation. The mediator’s role is to facilitate conversations, negotiations, and decisions between the separating couple.
A neutral and confidential approach
A family mediator must be certified to play this role. They may be a member of the legal profession. However, the mediator is always neutral: they will never give legal advice and cannot represent either ex-partner during or after the mediation.
Ex-partners are usually alone with the mediator during mediation and all exchanges are confidential. The mediator may not repeat in court what was said, written, or exchanged in mediation, even if it does not work. This rule is always respected, unless the former partners agree together to disclose what happened, in whole or in part. In addition, sometimes the confidentiality rule doesn’t apply when it’s necessary to prove the existence or scope of an agreement.
The different aspects of the mediator’s role
The family mediator:
Ensure that ex-spouses have an equal opportunity to present their views.
End mediation at any time if that will help the mediation and the ex-spouses.
Make decisions for the ex-spouses.
Maintain an atmosphere of respect and equality during mediation.
Suggest that the ex-spouses consult a legal professional if they need legal advice on any of the issues discussed.
Represent either of the ex-spouses or take sides for either.
Help ex-spouses consider the needs of their children.
Provide general legal information.
Provide legal advice.
Their role ends once the ex-partners reach an agreement or decide to end the family mediation because they cannot agree.
To find an accredited family mediator, visit the government’s online search tool. You can also contact your local courthouse or the Association de médiation familiale du Québec (family mediation association of Quebec).