Getting legal help

Mediation services

Mediation helps people who have a dispute reach a settlement that fits their family's needs, while minimizing conflict and delay.

Legal Aid Ontario's (LAO) mediation services are free, as long as one of the persons meets LAO's financial eligibility requirements.

To see if mediation is right for you and find out if you qualify for this service, please call 1-800-668-8258. If you live in the Ottawa area and are interested in their mediation program, you can call the Ottawa Mediation Program – Eastern District directly at 613-238-7931 ext. 42 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you are interested in mediation but do not meet LAO's eligibility guidelines, we can connect you to other mediators who provide subsidized mediations on a sliding scale fee.

What is family mediation?

Family mediation is a process where a mediator helps disputing parties brainstorm together on workable solutions that focus on the best interests of their children.

The mediator supports each person so that his or her perspective is considered. The mediator doesn't take sides.

What issues can LAO mediation help us with?

LAO's mediators help clients with:

  • custody
  • access
  • parenting arrangements
  • travel/vacation plans
  • parenting communication
  • child support

What are the benefits of family mediation?

You might want to consider family mediation because:

  • get the chance to make decisions together for your family
  • the focus remains on the needs of the children
  • helps improve communications between parties
  • it may be a faster confidential process to achieving a legally-binding agreement
  • you meet in a neutral environment
  • you're encouraged to solve problems
  • you may not need to appear before a judge
  • you're introduced to other community resources for your family

Is mediation right for you?

Mediation may be right for you if:

  • you are both willing to consider creative ways to compromise
  • you are ready for greater peace of mind
  • you are ready to put your differences aside and cooperate on child-related issues

Where you can get LAO's free mediation services

Contact LAO's toll-free number to see if you're eligible for LAO's free mediation services or to referred to subsidized mediation service.

Call 1-800-668-8258 from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Alternatively, if you are in the Ottawa area, you could also contact the Ottawa Mediation Program – Eastern District directly at 613-238-7931 ext. 42 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You may also qualify for free legal advice on your mediation agreement

If you're a mediation client, you can call LAO's toll-free line to learn if you're financially eligible for up to six hours with a lawyer, who can then help you before, during and after entering into any legal agreement based on the mediation.

You can receive advice from a lawyer about the mediation process, assistance in preparing for the mediation, or develop a better understanding of your options. The lawyer can also assist with obtaining a court order or binding agreement to enforce the terms of the mediation agreement.


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