Kattie Ross – The Mediator
I’m a mother, wife, sister and daughter – just like many of my clients. I’ve enjoyed a thriving law practice for 12+ years in Northumberland County. Although I have experience in other areas of law, my primary focus is on family law and family mediation services. I’m an Accredited Family Mediator with the Ontario Association for Family Mediation with and AccFM (OAFM) designation. I have approval from the Ministry of the Attorney general to be on the Four counties Family Mediation Roster.
Family Law Mediation
What issues can be mediated? ANY ISSUE! Below is a list of common topics that arise in family mediation:
- Child Custody, Child Access
- Child Support, Section 7 Expenses (Medical/Dental, Post-secondary education)
- Spousal Support
- Property Division (Pensions, Homes, Cottages, etc.)
Mediation is a process where I act as a neutral person. In this capacity, I am not acting as a lawyer and I will not favor one person’s position over another. My job in this role is to assist the two sides in negotiating a resolution. This process is completely voluntary. Unlike the public court system, it is a completely private process. No one will have access to your information and your “dirty laundry” will remain private.
One of my jobs as a mediator is to ensure that the parties can negotiate on an equal footing. A history of abuse or controlling behavior may rule out mediation in some cases, but there may also be ways for mediation to proceed provided that the parties are safe and can freely assert their interests. Mediation can take many forms depending on the circumstances and comfort levels of the parties, including a dialogue together in the same room or with the parties in separate rooms and the mediator acting as the communication conduit. The intent is always the same: to come to a mutually agreeable resolution that avoids the cost in time and money of court.
Mediation, unlike the court process, is not adversarial. You and your spouse will improve your communication and problem-solving skills. If appropriate, you will be able to talk directly to each other and work together to directly influence the outcome and decide your future. You and your spouse, not your lawyers or a judge, direct the process and decide the outcome.
Where children are involved, the mediation will always be child-focused. To reduce the high cost (both emotional and financial) of litigation, parties should consider family mediation to assist them in resolving their family law issues.
To Begin the Process of Mediation
- Either spouse can contact my office to set up an “intake meeting”.
- I will then contact the other spouse directly to set up their intake meeting.
- The first joint mediation session will be booked, likely within 7 days (depending on the complexity of the issues, I will usually book 2 hours per session ie: 10-12pm or 1-3 pm)
- Once the parties have reached an agreement on the issues, I will draft a Memorandum of Understanding for the parties.
- The parties will take the Memorandum of Understanding to a lawyer for independent legal advice and to legalize the Memorandum of Understanding by having a lawyer draft a Separation Agreement based on their agreements reached in mediation.