What is mediation? Edwin Knight would like to help you find the answer.
Knight, owner of Alberni Mediation, has teamed with Mediate BC and the Justice Access Centers to offer an open house in three different courthouses during Family Week to answer questions and schedule free, 60-minute consultations with people who would like to explore mediation further.
Knight was at the Nanaimo courthouse on Feb. 17. He will be in Courtenay from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22 and the Port Alberni courthouse on Thursday, Feb. 23.
In 2013 the Family Law Act introduced mediation as the preferred approach to settling family matters, division of property, support issues, guardianship and parenting plans. Civil disputes are often being resolved through Civil Claims Mediation and Condominium Dispute Resolution online, Knight said.
“The government recognized that issues both civil and family could potentially be dealt with less contentiously, far more efficiently, in a timelier manner and at a much lower cost than taking the issue through the courts.
“Many people come because it’s cheaper,” Knight said. “The rest of them come because they don’t want the challenges in court and they don’t want to challenge each other because they know that’s a negative road.
“Some of them want to preserve their relationship because in many cases they are still parenting together.”
Mediation crosses social and economic boundaries: although much of Knight’s practice involves family mediation, this process can be used for everything from civil issues to property division and partner separations.
“I’ve had some (clients) with lots and lots of property who have chosen not to go to court,” as well as older people who don’t want to put each other through the challenges of court, he said.
Mediation can also be faster than navigating the court system, even if two parties have several issues to work through, says Knight. What he prefers about mediation versus court action is the human aspect.
“There’s a maturation with working with human dynamics,” he says. A mediator who gets to know the parties can see what their deeper needs are. “Also, it’s their decision-making and not that of the courts,” he adds.
Knight will be upstairs at the Port Alberni courthouse on Thursday, Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at email@example.com