Contrary to what often happens during a court process, mediation promotes collaboration instead of confrontation and brings many benefits. Thus, the possibility for parties to have control over the decisions that will affect their family life, financial savings in respect to court procedures, avoiding public divulging of family problems as well as reducing stress for the children by mitigating conflict. Research shows that compliance toward mediated agreements is higher than judgments imposed by the court and that legal proceedings are less frequent after divorce.
The mediation process involves three key stages: The collection of information, an evaluation phase, and negotiations plus the drafting of the Summary of Mediated Agreements by the mediator. During the evaluation and negotiation stages, the mediator will ensure that both parents communicate their needs and expectations freely and fully to each other and consider the children's needs in order to provide a basis for negotiation that is both equitable and informed.
Parents can chose a mediator from one of the six Ordres; lawyers, notaries, guidance counsellors, psychologists, social workers, psychoeducators.
For couples with at least one dependent child, the ministère de la Justice du Québec subsidises the professional fees of certified family mediator for five (5) hours, including the information session, if applicable, or, in the case of an application for revision (of a judgment or a previous agreement), the professional fees for two and a half (2.5) hours, including the information session, if applicable. The parents must choose a mediator working within the government program, i.e. a mediator whose hourly rate respects the rate prescribed by law ($110 per hour). All necessary overtime will be charge to the couple at the prescribed hourly rate of $110 per hour. If the couple chooses a mediator who does not work within the government program, it will be responsible for all mediation expenses.
Parents can benefit from government services in the following instances:
A. Voluntary mediation
Both parents wish to amicably settle the consequences of their separation and to negotiate an agreement with the help of a mediator. Parents can use mediation services at any time, whether or not a legal procedure has been introduced before court.
B. Free information session on parenting after separation
If the parents do not agree on one of the following topics : child custody, access rights, child support, spousal support, partition of the family patrimony or any other issue arising from their separation. Since January 1, 2016, attendance at a parenting after separation information session has been a legal requirement if you and your spouse still disagree on any question concerning your separation at the time you are scheduled to be heard by a judge.
The parents can attend the information session together or separately, but unless they request otherwise, they will attend different information sessions. In any case, the parents can be accompanied by a person of their choosing.
The information session is given by two certified mediators, one of which has to be a jurist, and it can be given using any appropriate technological medium available. The information session focuses on parental responsibilities, the consequences of a conflict on children, the nature of the mediation process, the objectives of the mediation process, the different steps of the mediation process and the role of the mediator. The length of the session is approximately 2.5 hours.
Parents can be exempted from this session if they deposit a certificate to the court clerk proving that they have attended such a session for a previous separation. They can also be exempted if they present themselves to a victim assistance centre for victims of domestic violence certified by the ministère de la Justice. In any case, the court can, if the interest of the child requests such a measure, order both parents to attend the information session.
If one of the parents does not attend the session, he or she could be ordered to pay all expenses related to the legal procedure that was introduced before the court.
At the end of the information session, the family mediation service gives both parents a certificate proving that they have attended the session. Once they receive the certificate, the parents can choose between going through the mediation process or continue their procedure before court.
For information on this information session : Free information session on parenting after separation
C. Court ordered mediation
The court may order parents to resort to mediation at any time during the proceedings if it deems it appropriate. The parents must then choose a mediator and notify the court. Parents can also ask the Service de médiation familiale to designate a mediator for them. If the parents do not start mediation within a 20-day deadline, or if they put an end to it before reaching an agreement, the mediator reports the situation to the court and issues a copy of the report to both parties and their attorneys. TIf the couple chooses a mediator who does not work within the government program, it will be responsible for all mediation expenses.
At the conclusion of mediation, the mediator provides the Summary of Mediated Agreements to the parents. It is recommended that the couple see a lawyer to review the legal aspects contained in the Summary of Mediated Agreements and if needed to deposit the necessary documents in court. The court verifies the agreement and that the child support is in compliance with the Regulation Respecting the Determination of Child Support Payments or that any derogation is justifiable and reasonable. It also ensures that the interests of both parties and of the children is adequately safeguarded.
For more information
Please visit the « Find a Mediator section located in the homepage of this website.
Or contact the Association des médiateurs familiaux du Québec
By phone : 514 990-4011
Toll-free number : 1 800 667-7559
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
For information regarding the free information session on parenting after separation conducted by the Minister of Justice.
Please go to the following link to the Minister's website :
Interviews, videos on family mediation
Capsule d'information #4 - Qui peut être médiateur familial? - par Association de médiation familiale du Québec - 24 octobre 2017 (please take note that this video is in french)
Capsule d'information #5 - S'il y a entente lors de l a médiation, est-ce qu'on doit quand même se présenter devant un juge? - par Association de médiation familiale du Québec - 13 septembre 2017 (please take note that this video is in french)
Capsule conseil #2 - On fait quoi dans une rencontre de médiation familiale? - par Association de médiation familiale du Québec - 21 août 2017 (please take note that this video is in french)
Capsule d'information #2 - Est-ce que j'ai droit à la médiation? - par l'Association de médiation familiale du Québec - 12 juin 2017 (please take note that this video is in french)
Capsule d'information #3 - Est-ce qu'on doit être en chicane pour aller en médiation? - par l'Association de médiation familiale du Québec - 15 mai 2017 (please take note that this video is in french)
Capsule d'information #1 - Mon ami m'a dit que la médiation c'est gratuit. Est-ce que c'est vrai? - par l'Association de médiation familiale du Québec - 4 mai 2017 (please take note that this video is in french)
Capsule conseil #1 - L'enfant au coeur de la médiation - par l'Association de médiation familiale du Québec - 24 avril 2017 (please take note that this video is in french)
Entrevue radiophonique intitulée « Maîtres en solutions » sur la 6e journée québécoise de la médiation familiale en collaboration avec le Barreau du Québec à CIBL Montréal 101,5 FM animée par Stéphanie Gagnon - 3 février 2016 (please take note that this interview is in french)
View an interview on Family mediation at TVA - Salut Bonjour - 7 février 2013 (please take note that this video is in french).
La médiation : Pour mieux communiquer après la rupture - Conférence dans le cadre de la 5e journée nationale de la médiation familiale - 4 février 2015 (please take note that this video is in french)