Fact sheets


What is family mediation?

Family mediation is a voluntary process where a mediator helps disputing parents come up with workable solutions that focus on the best interests of their children. The mediator supports each person so that his or her perspective is considered.

Mediation is a good alternative to having a judge or a third party step in to resolve family relationship issues.

What issues can a legal aid mediator help you with?

Mediation is available to help your family sort out:

  • custody
  • child support
  • access
  • parenting arrangements
  • travel plans
  • parenting communication
  • other issues

Benefits of mediation

  • Mediation has a high success rate.
  • The focus remains on the needs of your children.
  • It helps to improve communications between parents.
  • You’re encouraged to solve problems.
  • You may not need to appear in court before a judge.
  • You’re introduced to other support services for your family.

Other mediation support services LAO offers

Mediation clients can call Legal Aid Ontario to see if they’re eligible for help from a lawyer, who can help them before, during and after entering into any legal agreement based on mediation.

Clients can receive support and advice from a lawyer about the mediation process, get help preparing for mediation, or develop a better understanding of their options.

A lawyer can also help with getting a court order or binding agreement to enforce the terms of the mediation agreement.

How do you qualify?

There are no fees for mediation through Legal Aid Ontario, but you must be financially eligible to qualify for our mediation services.

If you are interested in mediation and do not meet our eligibility guidelines, we can connect you to other free or sliding scale, court-based mediators.

Contact us

Contact Legal Aid Ontario’s toll-free number to see if you’re eligible for free mediation services or to be referred to a subsidized mediation service.

Phone: 1-800-668-8258

Service is available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Or visit us online: legalaid.on.ca/eligibility

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Do you need legal help?

To qualify for legal aid services, you must be financially eligible, and your legal matter must be one that LAO covers.

For more information, visit legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/eligibility.asp or call 1-800-668-8258 toll-free (or 416-979-1446 in Toronto) to get legal aid help in over 300 languages. Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5 p.m.