A mediator is a person who is specially trained to help people resolve conflict. Unlike a judge, a mediator doesn't impose solutions on people, but helps them to find their own solutions to their problems.

Some mediators, but not all, are also lawyers. Whether or not the mediator in a family law case is a lawyer, they should have special training about family dynamics and family law issues. Before hiring a mediator, ask about their training and qualifications.

Note that mediators are supposed to be neutral and can't provide legal advice, even if they're also a lawyer.

Private mediators charge for their services. But if you can resolve your issues using mediation, it's generally much less expensive than going to court. Family justice counsellors offer free mediation services to people with low incomes in certain cases.

How do I find a mediator

You can find mediators in several places:

Can I make my spouse attend mediation?

In most cases, mediation is voluntary. That is, both you and the other party have to agree to participate.

If you've started a case in Supreme Court, you can take steps to require your spouse to attend a mediation session. You do this by serving your spouse with a document called a Notice to Mediate. See Making mediation happen in a family law case in Supreme Court and Serve Supreme Court documents (for how to serve the document).

For more information on what mediators do, see the Attorney General's Family Justice page on mediators.