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View Full Version : Ordered to mediation. Need a volunteer to provide Advice



TheHydrant
07-11-2015, 01:32 PM
My spouse received a letter from her ex's lawyer the other day requesting a response to a mediation request regarding their separation agreement .
The ex has vast monetary resources, we do not. We believe we have a strong case but we cannot afford legal counsel and are preparing to go it alone.
I am looking for a volunteer with either legal or mediation experience or both who could confidentially review our documentation and provide advice such as how the proceedings work, what are the traps, and how should we make our arguments? I am not asking for representation, just advice from anyone more knowledgable than me.
Please PM as I won't post the personal details here obviously.

bilingual is an asset as most of the corespondence is in french

mtlgun
07-11-2015, 07:36 PM
If her ex is loaded you shouldn't have a problem getting a lawyer to take the case on contingency or payment post settlement.

A bit late in the year, but, check out your local law schools. Alot offer free advice on basic stuff like divorce to get your started. gl

TheHydrant
07-12-2015, 11:12 AM
problem resolved. Thx. Well the advice problem is resolved. Mediation nonsense continues.

mtlgun
07-12-2015, 02:36 PM
Don't scoff on it to hard. It can be an effective route to a settlement.

Often it works out to be cheaper, faster, and about as equitable. Also, it's slightly less confrontational which keeps tempers down and diminishes blow back.

gl

FALover
07-12-2015, 05:28 PM
I tried the 'mediation' route once. Besides myself there was my ex (female) my lawyer (female) her lawyer (female) the moderator (female) and a moderator in training (female). Talk about a thermoestrogen environment! It was not worth the lawyers fees by any means for me.

TheHydrant
07-12-2015, 06:00 PM
I believe my gf has a very strong case and can win. But he seems to feel the same about his chances so who knows.
He's ok paying his lawyer $xxx/hr. We are not. We have some homework to do to prepare. Like I said I believe we have the winning points, I'm just afraid of being blindsided. They split in 2008 and all of a sudden he wants mediation? WTF?

Gaidheal
07-12-2015, 07:09 PM
Not sure if it would help or not but my step-father offers a limited amount of legal advice via email. His website is homegrown, filled with pictures of stuff he finds interesting.

http://lawyerdinnen.com/LegalHelpFamily.htm

Lee Enfield
07-12-2015, 07:14 PM
Well 200.00/hr is cheap for a lawyer IMO. Personally I would get a lawyer with a great reputation as you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

TheHydrant
07-12-2015, 07:39 PM
Well 200.00/hr is cheap for a lawyer IMO. Personally I would get a lawyer with a great reputation as you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

oh I have no idea what his rate is. I just picked a figure that I thought was outrageous and took a shot in the dark. I should have known better. The guy who fixed our pool charged $100/hr.

Zinilin
07-12-2015, 08:42 PM
Your 'case' is not as important as the clarity of your desired outcome. Be clear, be consistent, stay on topic and don't pursue or acknowledge anything that deviates from the clarity of your desired outcome. One of the first questions that a good lawyer will as you is 'How do you want this to resolve' or 'What outcome are you looking for'.

If the mediator asks you 'What do you want' you must be able to provide a concise and deliverable answer. The why, the how, the cost, the everything else is less important than the what. Good lawyers create outcomes, not cases.

lone-wolf
07-12-2015, 11:07 PM
Can someone tell me what mediation is? And what can be gained from it?

Candychikita
07-13-2015, 12:56 AM
Mediation is used to resolve issues when you reach an impasse. They won't deal with people who are actively being abused and most times are unable to provide legal advice (unless they are actually a lawyer). They will create a Memo of Understanding that can be used as an appendix to a case, and/or a the bones for creating a Consent Order.

Out here as part of our new Family Law Act they encourage people to try mediation before court - you can pay for a mediator or you can use a Family Justice Counsellor who are free, you can find at most provincial courthouses and we have an online roster of approved mediators.

If mediation is unsuccessful, they will write a letter basically stating that mediation wasn't successful and the parties can use that, as well as any offers to settle when determining costs at the end of a case, so you do want to try to mediate first or make settlement offers.

Since cost is a concern for you, you can agree to mediation as long as a free and or cost efficient mediator can be found. That way you aren't refusing mediation, but you can put the hardship of finding a free mediator on the other party (at least in part...keep looking yourself)

You could also ask for a JCC (judicial case conference) or a settlement conference, which is basically mediation with a judge presiding. Anything you agree on would be written into a consent order right then and there, and the judge could provide an answer as to how successful your arguments are. They do try to encourage settlement whereas some lawyers can't always say the same.

Good luck!

TheHydrant
08-17-2015, 09:23 AM
just a quick update: we are kicking ass thanks in some degree to some of the advice/suggestions posted and a few PM's I received.
The ex's lawyer was at first trying to frighten us off by reminding us how expensive this could be. We still have not hired a lawyer, but his client has been hemorrhaging cash on his lawyer since this began. we made sure to have all of our receipts, all emails printed, categorized and important details hilighted. It's interesting that his lawyer insists on using a mediator he has experience with but we refuse. We assert that any mediator we use should have no prior knowledge about either party.
Sparing you all the bloody details, this is going really well. Thanks for the helpful tips.

Candychikita
08-17-2015, 09:44 PM
Congratulations :) Make sure if you do end up paying for a lawyer's advice/notarizing documents etc etc, to keep your receipts. If your gf is establishing a right to payment (child support, spousal support), legal fees can be put on her Line 232 of her taxes. I am not entirely certain what constitutes as "legal fees" when you are self representing, but that can include anything that a lawyer would have charged a client for including things like photocopies, faxes, couriers, filing fees, etc or any other disbursements. I gave the whole whackload of receipts and documentation to my accountant post-divorce and was very happy with the return. :)

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns206-236/232/lgl-eng.html

TheHydrant
08-30-2015, 06:57 PM
for those in the know, what is the term called when you wish to prevent the other party from seeking a motion from the courts without first getting the courts permission? I'm very sorry if I worded that poorly, but I have heard that we could request (something) in order to prevent the other party from repeatedly running to a judge every time his feelings get hurt without getting a green light from the court first.
What is it called? I should be able to google how to once I get the proper terms.
thx

Foxer
08-30-2015, 07:37 PM
Sounds like you're talking about having them declaired as being a vexatious litigant. Basically someone who sues without reason again and again:

http://www.duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/V/VexatiousLitigant.aspx

A person so identified cannot bring a litigation against the person again without the court's permission - basically a judge has to say it's legit first. It's not an easy thing to have declared, courts aren't excited about taking away someone's legal rights, but it can be done

TheHydrant
08-30-2015, 07:42 PM
^^^ I see...so the burden is on us AGAIN to try to prove he's acting maliciously and using the court system to bully and abuse?
Yikes...that does sound like it would be tough. Easy to say. Easy to provide examples, but dang!! If the court denies his right to sue it denies the right to all and I recognize that. It's so hard to believe in our justice system when it appears to only be for the wealthy.

Foxer
08-30-2015, 07:58 PM
^^^ I see...so the burden is on us AGAIN to try to prove he's acting maliciously and using the court system to bully and abuse?
Yikes...that does sound like it would be tough. Easy to say. Easy to provide examples, but dang!! If the court denies his right to sue it denies the right to all and I recognize that. It's so hard to believe in our justice system when it appears to only be for the wealthy.

Well it's a very common complaint - you have recourse, if you can afford it. Which many can't. It is a major problem with our system. There is a tendency in many areas to move to 'tribunals' and arbitration solutions to address that, but it's an imperfect solution and usually specific to something like traffic violations, strata law, small claims, etc.

I don't know what to tell you - it is not that uncommon to have someone declaired vexatious, you CAN read up on it yourself and learn how to make a motion and see previous precedence and such, and if the person is genuinely harassing you by legal means then the courts probably will give it very serious consideration. The only other thing I can suggest is learn how to drive up lawyers bills, you can file things and do things that drive the cost thru the roof and eventually the other party may get sick of funding stuff just for the sake of it. If you lived in bc I could help more but unfortunately you'll have to look around at some local resources and see if there's something or someone who can help you to defend yourselves better or file things like a vexatious litigant action. Even the act of doing that may be enough to make them back off a little.

Candychikita
08-31-2015, 08:19 PM
A judge can order it too, without the parties applying for it, if they can visibly see that they are being a vexatious litigant. For it to be vexatious, the person really needs to be quibbling about stupid stuff against the same party. I saw once in BC Supreme Court two parties fighting in Chambers about how their children were going to get to school: take the school bus or drive...the judge did demand that before they show their faces in the courthouse again that they needed to see a mediator first on any issue, and ordered that they take their crap to the lower court (Provincial)

Here's an example of it happening:
http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/12/01/2012BCSC0170.htm

Before applying to the court, you can first try to put in your agreement that the parties need to mediate first before going to court, which is often done to prevent vexatious litigation and decrease backlog in the courts.

You could even put in there that you want BINDING ARBITRATION (http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/arbitration/new_rules.asp) which sometimes scares people into behaving, and takes the legal abuse out of the equation. Mediation can only go so far, but if the other party blindly believes they are always right despite the evidence and mediation, the binding arbitration can see all sides of the story and enforce something. Bringing application after application through the courts only tells one piece of the family law story at a time, and may be overturned if/when the final trial takes place with all the evidence and the entire family law case is in focus.

As well, to decrease costs you can request that your family law stuff be dealt with in Provincial court instead of superior court like above - they are less formal, less perfection in paperwork is needed, and is more accessible for the average person.

A lot of the fighting dies down after the main issues are settled, so applying to have someone named as a vexatious litigant isn't used much because there are other options to help protect the parties. For me, the threatening of court only comes up is when there are significant changes in circumstances that affect both parties finances, and even then there precedence and a mathematical calculation that has been proven as fair. Educating yourselves on what the legal boundaries are and case precedence helps take the bluster out of his threats of court action.

TheHydrant
09-01-2015, 12:52 PM
cool....thx, passing this info along and just knowing some of these terms by proper name is a big help to us. Going through mediation is no big deal really, just time consuming more than anything and nobody HAS to agree to anything. What get's frustrating is if he doesn't get his way at mediation he then uses the courts to force us into complying.
That's gotta end. "Dude, we went to mediation and you lost. Why don't you focus your time and energy on being a father instead."
I really do appreciate the advice I'm receiving here. My family is very grateful. It is working but we are exhausted.

Candychikita
09-01-2015, 10:44 PM
Hang in there :) It will get better.

Strangeday
09-02-2015, 06:53 AM
Holy crap! $200 an hour for a lawyer....that lawyer is either rich and working for fun or is a complete idiot. My family law lawyer charges 575 an hour and my corporate counsel is 650 an hour.

You need more than mediation advice (FYI mediation is a waste of time)

TheHydrant
09-02-2015, 01:01 PM
Oh I have no idea what his rate is I just picked a number out of the air. I assume his rate can't be that high if I'm beating him and I am a nobody when it comes to this stuff.
If his rates are as high as you suggest then that is much worse. So nice to see the ex has money to pay for a lawyer, but when it comes to things like clothes and child support......forget about it.

TheHydrant
09-14-2015, 11:09 AM
wow it's amazing how fast things can devolve. My gf's ex is unhinged and all of his behaviour is under the watchful guidance of his dipshit lawyer. We had to call the police yesterday and now Child Protection is getting involved. Great....I better make sure my stuff all on the up 'n' up because I've got an inspection coming no doubt. I just shipped off a bunch of ammo cans to a buddies to hold. Haven't decided if I should send him my long guns too. My handguns are locked and double locked and there isn't a single bullet to be found in the house.