Relationship mediation involves the couple coming together to make decisions about their future. The process can be proactive (preventive) or reactive (dispute).

The prevention process of mediation let’s you talk about a change properly and document your intentions so that it doesn’t become a problem later.

At any time during your relationship you can create a document to protect yourselves or just to ensure there is no misunderstanding later. Here are some of the more common scenarios where a Dispute Prevention Document would help alleviate disputes and clarify the issue.

  • You agree to buy an investment property and use equity in your home to do so. Your intention is to sell it to pay for your child’s post-secondary expenses.
  • You’ve received an inheritance and you want to use it to put a pool in the martial home.  You agree that should your relationship end, you will get that money back.
  • You are not married and are buying a house together but you have a significantly higher down payment. You agree that should your relationship end, you will get that money back.
  • You agree that your partner is going to start a new business and will use your joint line of credit to fund it. You agree that the business will pay that money back before any other debts. You set a reasonable timeline for the business to get up and running, and agree to review at a specified time.
  • You quit your job to be a caregiver for your special needs child. You both agree that is the best solution for your family and understand the implications that decision could have to spousal support should your relationship end.
  • You’ve paid off your partner’s debt and agree to a monthly repayment plan.
  • You agree that money from your family is a gift and is not expected to be paid back or a loan and set the repayment schedule.
  • You agree that you will have an open marriage or you agree to bring another partner into a marriage.
  • You agree to financially support a family member and that it’s your sole responsibility to do so.

The prevention process is all about setting expectations and having full and frank conversations. As a mediator who started in divorce mediation, I know the value of having these discussions and documenting your understanding. Revisionist history is a reality in many separations. You need to set yourselves up for success and many relationships end because of unmet expectations.

The dispute resolution process is used when a problem arises. You love each other but you’ve hit a snag and you’re having a difficult time moving on.

  • You have different communication styles (or conflict styles) that makes resolving differences a tough task.
  • You are feeling neglected as your partner is a workaholic.
  • You can’t decide if one of you should stay home to care for children or if daycare is a better solution.
  • You are concerned that your partner is spending too much.
  • You don’t agree on your retirement plan.
  • You disagree about whether one of you should start a new business.
  • You might even be wondering if you should continue your relationship.

There are many reasons couples get stuck and can’t seem to get on the same page. The confidential process of mediation is forward focused and is great for discussing differences and agreeing on a plan to get you back on the right track.

Focusing on the future in mediation is sometimes more comfortable for couples than counselling.