Separation and Divorce

When Mediation Is Free for Couples


The government strongly encourages couples to try mediation to reach an agreement on issues arising from a breakup. In some cases, it even pays for a specific number of hours of mediation.

The Government Mediation Program

Couples who are breaking up can get some hours of free mediation with a certified mediator in these situations:

  • They have dependent children.
  • The mediator they choose is willing to take part in the government’s family mediation program.

In all other situations, the mediation is not free, and the couple must pay for the mediator’s services.

Mediation for couples without dependent children – from February 18, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

A pilot project by the Quebec government offers 3 hours of free mediation with an accredited mediator to couple without dependent children. This program is open to couples who are married or in a civil union. It can help them decide how to divide family and matrimonial property. This program is also available to common-law couples who had signed a contract or who have property that must be divided.

Number of Hours of Free Mediation

The number of hours of free mediation depends on what the couple wants:

One person in the couple wants

Hours of free mediation

  • to get a judgment (e.g., for child support or for a divorce) or
  • to reach an agreement on a child’s living arrangements or on child support
  • 5 hours
  • 2.5 hours if
    • the couple has already had 5 free hours and wants to settle a new issue arising from the breakup
    • the couple has already had 2.5 free hours and wants to settle a new issue arising from the breakup
    • the couple has a separation judgement
  • to change a judgment or agreement
  • 2.5 hours of mediation sessions

Important! The free hours include the mediator’s time spent working for the couple outside the sessions, for example, when preparing an agreement.

If a couple wants to continue mediation after the free sessions, they must pay the mediator’s fees themselves. But the mediator’s hourly fee can’t exceed the legal rate ($110 an hour).