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Mediation is a guided process to assist in reaching a settlement that works for each particular family.  In a lawyer assisted mediation, we utilize the services of a trained third party mediator who will work with the parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

Any agreements reached at mediation can be incorporated in a consent court order or a separation agreement to ensure they are binding and enforceable.

Mediations are conducted on a “without prejudice” basis which means that, if an agreement is not reached, neither party can raise what happened at mediation, or any compromises that either party was willing to accept, in any subsequent proceedings.

At mediation the parties can choose the issues they wish to deal with, whether it is an isolated issue or all of the issues surrounding their separation.

If both parties are committed to reaching a resolution, mediation can be a valuable process that allows for more flexibility in arriving at an outcome. A well trained mediator may have the opportunity to be creative in suggesting resolution options that neither party had contemplated.

One of the major benefits of mediation is that it allows the parties to have input in the ultimate result. It is less rigid than litigation. In contrast, if a family law matter proceeds through the court system, a judge will strictly apply the law to the facts and will impose a judgment which outlines what that result will be. In addition, the parties have the freedom to choose an appropriate mediator. The family law and divorce lawyers at SVR work with many different highly regarded mediators who each have specific skill sets that may make them particularly suited to a particular matter. Many of the mediators we work with are experienced and respected family law lawyers, retired justices or psychologists.


Arbitration is usually reserved for those issues and matters where the parties cannot agree despite negotiation and mediation.  It can encompass all issues or it can focus on issues that remain after a partial agreement is reached. Arbitration can be a more efficient alternative to traditional litigation.  The courts have a heavy case load and therefore it is often difficult to schedule a trial within a reasonable period of time.  The timing of an arbitration is limited only the schedules of the parties involved, their legal counsel and the arbitrator.  However, while there is no, or minimal, cost payable to the court for the right to proceed to trial, an arbitrator does charge for his or her time.

It is important to note that, arbitration is still a formal process that results in a decision being made by an arbitrator (as opposed to a judge) that is binding on the parties, subject to any rights of appeal.  The resulting arbitration award is legally enforceable through the courts.

Like a court trial, in an arbitration the arbitrator hears evidence and legal arguments from both sides and makes a decision.  This decision is called an “arbitration award”.    Unlike a trial, where a judge is assigned without the parties’ input, an arbitrator is chosen and appointed by the parties.  The parties have the ability to specify which issues the arbitrator has the jurisdiction to deal with.

Mediation / Arbitration

Mediation/Arbitration is a hybrid process that utilizes both the mediation and arbitration dispute resolution processes.  The process starts as a mediation where the parties have an opportunity to attempt to resolve the issues by agreement.  If that process is unsuccessful, the mediator switches roles to an arbitrator and the proceeding changes to the more formal and binding arbitration process.  One of the major benefits of a mediation/arbitration is that it provides both parties with the assurance that there will be some finality to the matter even if they are unable to agree.  In our experience, parties work harder at reaching resolution, and are more compromising at the mediation stage, if there is a chance that they will have to proceed to arbitration if there is no agreement.

[Janet] thanks for letting me know of your retirement… I’m sad to see you go but hope for your rest and enjoyment for all you’ve done for my family and others… With all my thanks I want to express all my appreciation for all you’ve done for us and all the grief it was to deal with! You were the right fit.
A.W., Client
I write this review based on my experience when working with Stacey Lee as my legal representative. Simply put, Stacey is attentive (or vigilant if you prefer), knowledgeable, professional, fair, and personable. It was important for me to have someone that was responsive and competent. I never waited more than 24 hours for a reply and am very happy with the resulting agreement that was created, as it represented a solution that was best for all parties involved – which was important to me. Stacey likes to say I was the ideal client, but the reality is that she was the ideal representative, providing legal advice, while keeping me abreast of the big picture. Based on my experience with Stacey, I highly recommend her.
S.N., Client
From the moment we met, Janet had not only a business approach to my situation but also a level of compassion and friendliness. I’ve worked now with Janet for years and not one time did she fail to meet my expectations. I have always felt at ease just hearing her voice. If she didn’t have the answer immediately, she has always provided one promptly. She has been my Rock and Sounding Board. I’ve referred her to others. If anyone is in need of a GREAT family lawyer, Janet Russell in my view is the lady to contact.
N.M., Client
Stacey, Thank you once again for all your help with my file. I can’t express how much I appreciated you having my back yesterday and you do it so calmly. Your perspective and guidance helped me a lot – thank you. It felt like a whirlwind of numbers but you helped me keep perspective as we went along…Thank you again for helping us bring things to closure.
B.F., Client
Very satisfied with the services provided by the lawyers at SVR Lawyers! It was a long and convoluted divorce process, but Abram Averbach, Cindy Lee and their assistants have helped me to navigate through it and finalize it. I highly recommend them!
J.B., Client
Stacey Lee handled the sale of my business and separation from a spouse attending to both my corporate and family law matters. Stacey provided a calm and realistic voice when tensions and emotions were high. Stacey approached the resolution of my files with opposing counsel in a collaborative way, seeking to reduce court appearances and conflict between all parties involved. I would work with Stacey again and recommend her to anyone requiring assistance in family or corporate matters.
H.S., Client

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