Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is mediation?
A: Mediation is voluntary and confidential. When you hire a mediator, you hire a neutral, trained professional to help you and the other party work out your own agreement using proven processes and strategies. The parties, not the mediator, are the decision-makers. Mediation can help with conflicts that have already been to court and those that have not. It can be as effective as court (or more so!) and legally binding.
Q: Can you help me review a contract?
A: Acting purely on your behalf, we can provide independent legal advice on contracts before you sign them, to provide unbiased advice on how the contract may affect you legally. For example, on a cohabitation agreement with a current partner.
Q: What is Collaborative Law?
A: Collaborative law is an out-of-court process of problem solving. Both parties retain separate lawyers who help them settle the dispute. If the parties decide to go to court, the collaborative law process is terminated, and lawyers are longer involved in the case. Parties to a collaborative law arrangement must sign contractual agreements before the process begins.
Q: When is the right time to file a notice of family claim?
A: Decisions on when to file a Notice of Family Claim involve multiple and often confusing legal considerations. During this time, parties may be emotionally charged, and finding the legal alternatives to be complicated. If you are unsure about whether to file court documents for divorce or separation, what the legal impact of not filing might be, or other legal consequences of filing/not filing a court proceeding are, then contact us to schedule a consultation. Before filing, consult the help of an experienced family lawyer.
Q: What can be done to minimize the cost of a divorce?
A: Get informed. At a time when you may find yourself the least able to make decisions, due to the stress of the marriage breakdown, you will be making decisions that impact you the rest of your life. Find out as much as you can about the divorce process, legal issues, and your financial aspects. We can provide resources and outline the alternatives to going to court. Consider the value of interest-based mediation or negotiation, where all efforts are made to find solutions that meet everyone’s needs.
Q: When is the right time to hire a lawyer?
A: Going the do-it-yourself route may cost you more in the end than hiring a professional because serious mistakes, and oversights may occur. Assuming that you can manage the legal process alone can lead to complications and further costs. Unfavourable court orders may be difficult or impossible to reverse. The sooner you obtain legal advice, the less likely you are to incur unnecessary expenses or be subject to unfavourable court orders.
Q: What is excluded (exempt) property?
A: This may include property that a party had before the relationship began, and may include inheritances, settlements or personal injury awards, or trust funds. Excluded property is a complex legal issue and may factors are considered in determining if property is excluded. We provide legal advice to highlight the factors courts consider in determining if property is excluded or not, so you may make an informed choice to pursue an excluded property claim.
Q: Who pays for mediation?
A: Generally, both parties share the cost by paying a retainer at the beginning. Usually, mediation is more affordable, both financially and emotionally, than having a court decide.
Family Law in British Columbia http://www.familylaw.lss.bc.ca
Legal Services Society http://legalaid.bc.ca
Okanagan Collaborative Family Law Group http://www.collaborativefamilylaw.ca
Mediate British Columbia http://www.mediatebc.com