Mediation is typically a voluntary process whereby spouses agree to retain a mediator to assist them to resolve their issues. The process is highly successful with 98% of all cases that are mediated resulting in a settlement.
In spite of this some clients and some lawyers are still reluctant to agree to attend a mediation. In B.C. it is now possible to serve a Notice to Mediate which requires both parties to attend mediation. The Notice cannot be served until a Notice of Family Claim has been filed and served and then 90 days after the time for filing a Response has elapsed. It also must be served no later than 90 days before the date of trial.
If a Notice to Mediate has been served the parties must agree on a mediator and must attend a pre-mediation meeting and one mediation session. In my experience once the parties are at the mediation it makes no difference whether they were forced to attend or not. Once engaged in the process parties will almost always work together to resolve their issues.
Deborah A. Todd