Can a Spouse Be Forced to Attend Family Mediation?

family mediation

When couples are dealing with a family law dispute, it’s important they seek help from a professional mediator. Mediation is a process through which couples can work together to resolve their disagreements and come to an agreement that is mutually beneficial. In British Columbia, family mediation is a legally binding process and can be used to resolve a variety of family law issues, including division of property, child custody, and spousal support.

Unfortunately, not all spouses are willing to attend family mediation. This can create a difficult situation for couples, as mediation is often the best way to resolve their disputes. If one spouse refuses to attend mediation, the other spouse may wonder if they can force them to go.

Can a Spouse Be Forced to Attend Family Mediation?

The answer depends on the specifics of the situation. In general, the court cannot force a spouse to attend mediation. However, the court can take certain measures to encourage it. For example, the court can make an order that states that if one spouse refuses to attend mediation, they will be penalized in some way, such as by having to pay a larger portion of the costs associated with the dispute.

In addition, the court can order that the spouse who refuses to attend mediation pay the costs associated with the mediation process, such as the mediator’s fees. This can be a powerful incentive for the spouse to agree to attend.

Finally, the court can order that the spouse who refuses to attend mediation have their claims limited or dismissed. This means that if the spouse who refuses to attend mediation is claiming something from the other spouse, such as spousal support or a portion of the marital assets, their claim may be dismissed or limited if they refuse to attend mediation.

That being said, one great way to encourage (effectively force) a spouse to attend family mediation is through something called a notice to mediate.

What Is a Notice to Mediate and What Does It Do?

A notice to mediate is a formal document that is used to initiate the mediation process. The notice to mediate is sent to a party involved in a dispute and outlines the issues in dispute, the proposed mediation process, and the parties’ responsibilities in the process.

The notice to mediate is a crucial step in the mediation process as it serves to set out the ground rules for the mediation and to ensure that all parties understand their rights and responsibilities during the mediation. The document also serves to encourage the parties to come to an agreement without the need for court action.

Once the notice to mediate has been sent, the parties have a certain amount of time to respond. The response should include whether the party accepts the mediation and any requests for changes to the proposed process. If both parties agree to the mediation and the proposed process, the mediation can then begin.

Notice to mediate can be a useful tool for resolving disputes without the need for costly and time-consuming litigation, and it is an effective way to motivate a spouse to come and attend family mediation.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the court cannot force a spouse to attend family mediation, but they can take certain measures to encourage them to do so. It’s important for couples to understand that mediation is usually the best way to resolve their disputes, and they should do whatever they can to encourage both parties to attend.

Dreyer Davison Lawyers LLP works hard to meet the various interests of families in Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland. If you are looking for family mediation assistance, get in touch with us today!

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