How Many Times Can Mediation Be Postponed?

How Many Times Can Mediation Be Postponed?

The success of divorce mediation requires that all parties be present, you, your spouse and your Calgary divorce mediator. If a party is absent, the mediator may have difficulty dealing with the absent party’s interests and concerns. In addition, while a mediator should accommodate a reasonable request for postponement, some parties may engage in postponement attempts that are not reasonable.

If your mediation schedule is postponed, you should take a moment to consider your options and the reasons for any postponements or cancellations. – any action that one party takes unilaterally without the agreement of all parties can be considered problematic.

What Happens If You Don’t Show Up For Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process. If no agreement can be reached, or one party decides not to attend mediation, then the parties may need to engage in arbitration or go to trial. In both of these processes, discovery is a key component; it provides the information that both parties need to make informed decisions about how they wish to proceed.

Fortunately, with mediation, most parties are able to resolve their dispute before they even get to the discovery phase, and rather than trying to collect evidence from each other and from witnesses, they concentrate on taking information from their own perspective and constructive approaches to resolving their dispute.

Why Would Mediation Be Cancelled?

Calgary divorce mediators are in a position of authority and it is safe to presume that the people sitting around them are there because they are self-disciplined and responsible. However, sometimes issues arise that lead them to postpone (or to cancel) mediation sessions.

There is no hard and fast rule that states that mediation should be cancelled in cases when a reasonable reason for postponement is given. It will be up to the mediator’s discretion to determine what is reasonable. Some examples of why mediation may be postponed (or cancelled) can be found below:

  • High conflict divorce, with emotional spouses;
  • Allegations of domestic/child abuse
  • The relationship has an imbalance of power;
  • No discovery has been conducted;
  • Real scheduling conflicts and unavailability  between the parties; and
  • Unrealistic expectations, and parties are unable to negotiate.

Continued mediation can help resolve the underlying dispute and even prevent it from escalating into litigation. But if parties continue to make unreasonable postponement requests, and a mediator is unable to get them to address the reasonableness of their requests, then a Calgary divorce mediator may eventually have to terminate the mediation sessions.

The Takeaway

Mediation is a useful tool for any litigant who is willing to work with the process. Participating in mediation is not difficult, takes place at an agreed upon location, probably on an agreed upon day and time, with an agreed upon place to meet. And, generally speaking, mediation can resolve matters quickly, typically much faster than arbitration.

If you do not agree to go to mediation and then try to cancel it unilaterally without the agreement of all parties involved in the mediation, plan on being present at the scheduled date, time and location. If you fail to show up at that meeting you can expect that other litigants will file motions with the court asking that your claims be dismissed as you are failing to participate in alternative dispute resolution in good faith with regards to your cases.