There many be times when family members need a little help getting along. When issues can’t be ironed out within the family dynamic, there are tools available under the British Columbia family law umbrella that may help — such as alternative dispute resolution processes. A process which is controlled and in which the balance of power is on an equal footing may be helpful in resolving contentious issues within the family dynamic.
When family violence is a factor, the mediation process may not be the best fit. However, if the issue has to do with power imbalances, they can be addressed and mediation can be effective. There must be a screening process in place, and a professional mediator should be at the helm — one who is familiar with the law, such as a lawyer. Individuals must agree to the mediation process and be able to negotiate details in a safe, fair and effective manner.
In this kind of forum, the balance of power is on a more even keel. Having a mediator who understands abuse issues and who is sensitive to them may make a big difference when it comes to successful mediation. Controlling or coercive behaviour on the part of either of the individuals involved has no place in the mediation forum.
A British Columbia lawyer experienced in family law may be able to help his or her client to feel empowered in the mediation process. As such a client may be able to make decisions that are better informed. A lawyer will know the principles of healthy and legal mediation and can guide a client in the mediation journey.