Family and Estate Mediation


Family Mediation

Separating couples can voluntarily use Family Mediation to come together with the help of a trained neutral facilitator. In this mediation, couples work toward a financial settlement or parenting plan.

With the mediator’s assistance, couples engage in a constructive discussion focusing on their underlying interests and concerns. This leads to a legal separation agreement while avoiding unnecessary conflict.

Mediation is an alternative to having lawyers for each party negotiate a Separation Agreement or going to Court.

Estate Mediation

Generally estate mediation is a voluntary process usually involving multiple parties who usually are members of the same family.

Estate mediation deals with disputes about:

  • Handling of the financial affairs or personal care of someone under Power of Attorney
  • Administration of an estate by the estate trustee

A significant number of mediation of estate disputes involves contests between different members of the same family. In addition estate mediation is a way to get past old grudges and settle the estate at reasonable cost.

The Separation Agreement

Separating couples need to reach and sign an agreement, called a Separation Agreement. Chiefly it untangles the various aspects of their matrimonial or common-law relationship. These aspects include parenting arrangements, child and spousal support, financial interdependence, equalization of property, and responsibility for debts.

A properly negotiated, drafted and signed Separation Agreement will go as far as is legally possible. Furthermore to provide a resolution of the rights and obligations of each party arising from separation.

The Importance of the Choice of Process

Sorting out of legal rights and entitlements arising from separation can be made more difficult by different factors. For instance the emotional aspects of separation, the involvement of new partners, and the feelings of other persons involved, including children and extended family members.

In order to move forward with their lives, individuals need a process for final determination of these issues; but choosing the right process can be difficult. Individuals caught in this situation are often in a state of turmoil and vulnerable to poor advice. Such advice may come from many quarters including family, friends, new partners, fellow workers, and the Internet.

Some people take a “do-it-yourself” approach to separation and avoid professional help altogether. In that case, even if an agreement is reached, it may be incomplete or otherwise lack the essential ingredients of a binding contract. In the event of further dispute, the agreement may be unenforceable or even set aside by the Court.

At the other end of the process spectrum is litigation. While there are definitely cases that will require the Court’s assistance for final resolution, for most couples the choice of litigation will generally result in the highest level of conflict and emotional and financial impact.

Markedly between the choices of “do-it-yourself” and litigation, there are various processes for reaching agreement by negotiation. Specifically one of these processes is family mediation.

Initial Contact

Firstly the process usually begins with one or the other spouse having a telephone conversation with Robert Hammond, during which a brief review of the process is provided. Robert will usually ask that he have the opportunity to have a similar telephone conversation with the other spouse and then arrangements will be made for the parties to meet with Robert at one of the locations referred to below.

First Session

At the first session, Robert will have individual meetings with each spouse to ensure that the couple is suitable for mediation, to determine whether or not there are any security issues and to consider whether or not legal counsel should be present during the mediation sessions. The couple will then meet jointly with Robert to review and sign the Agreement to Mediate and to provide a monetary retainer. At this point, the first mediation session can begin.

Each spouse will be given an opportunity to fully explain what he or she expects to receive in an agreement. Each spouse will be encouraged to listen and carefully consider what is important to the other person and to attempt to find areas of common interest. Robert will assist the parties to generate options for a mutually acceptance resolution of all issues. The spouses will have been encouraged to bring with them particulars of their biographical background and documentation of financial disclosure.

Continuing Sessions and Private Caucasus

Normally, a family mediation will involve at least two or three sessions before the couple are ready to have their Separation Agreement drafted. In the course of these sessions, the mediator may decide to have private meetings with each spouse to assist in getting past difficult points.

Independent Legal Advice

The parties will be encouraged to have independent legal advice during the process and before signing an agreement. If the parties have engaged lawyers, the mediator will speak to the lawyers by telephone to obtain their input.

Preparation of Separation Agreement

Once the issues have been resolved in principle, the parties may choose to have the mediator prepare a formal agreement. Parties with lawyers may elect to have counsel prepare the agreement, in which case the mediator will provide counsel with a memorandum as to issues resolved.


Upon initial consultation, the client will be advised as to the minimum retainer fee, which will cover the costs of initial contact, review of background information and financial disclosure, individual meetings and the first full mediation session. The client will be advised as to the basis for further fees, which may include, for example, further mediation sessions or the mediator’s assistance in the preparation of a formal agreement.


The family mediation offered by this office is closed mediation, meaning that it is confidential and nothing said or disclosed in mediation may be used in any other proceedings. Neither the mediator nor anyone else from this office may be compelled to testify for or against either party to the mediation as to what occurred during the mediation.


Getting Started

Firstly to initiate mediation call us. We will work with you to bring resolution to your conflicts quickly, calmly and with less cost than other alternatives. In the end there is a fair and binding separation agreement.

Alternatively, to suit the convenience of the parties, the family mediation sessions can be arranged to take place elsewhere.

When it is inconvenient for the parties to meet in the same location, other arrangements can be considered

It is important to realize that your privacy is important to us; any contact will be kept confidential.



The Hammond Osborne law firm has its office in the Boardwalk Building in Brockville, Ontario. Our office provides an appropriate and private setting overall for family mediation.

Alternatively, to suit the convenience of the parties, the family mediation sessions can be arranged to take place elsewhere.