MEDIATION is a legal process option to reach a Separation Agreement and should often be tried before a court application is made. Both parties have to agree to use the process of mediation. Both parties jointly hire a qualified mediator, who is trained to help them to reach a final settlement on all the issues. The parties meet with the mediator, who helps steer and guide them toward a settlement. This may take a number of meetings depending upon how far apart the parties are to agreement on all matters. The mediator will not make the parties agree with each other. It is up to the parties to agree with each other and the mediator will help. Once an agreement is reached, the mediator can draft an outline of the agreement for the parties to take to each of their lawyers to review. The parties must each have their own lawyer review the outline of the agreement. This advice from a lawyer is called “independent legal advice”. The contents of the outline prepared by the mediator can then be formalized into a legal Separation Agreement by the lawyers. Often the parties will each have a lawyer before starting mediation so that they can each obtain legal advice throughout the mediation process. 

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