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A strength-guided, goal-oriented approach to the positive growth and
development of people and services.
Mediation / Arbitration
A Mediation/Arbitration (Med/Arb) service
provider is typically a neutral person to whom parents can turn to help
determine their parenting plan if not already established or who is
otherwise empowered to address and change any predetermined agreement with
regard to parenting at the request of either parent. This is distinguished
from a parenting coordinator who typically must work within a pre-existing
parenting agreement in order to facilitate implementation, resolve
disputes arising in interpreting the plan and address other matters as may
be determined by the nature of the service contract.
the mediator/arbitrator acts in two capacities with the same clients:
mediator and arbitrator. In other words, if the parents are unable to
resolve their issue(s) by way of mediation (which may include coaching,
education, guidance, etc.) then the service provider would arbitrate the
matter, meaning that the same person would go from one who helps
facilitate decisions between the parents to one who makes decisions on
approach to med/arb is different. It is my experience that when the same
service provider functions as mediator and arbitrator, once a matter is
arbitrated, many persons consider the service provider biased in favour of
whom the arbitrated decision was most closely aligned. This then may
undermine the spirit of service creating the conditions that can lead to
the termination, withdrawal or dismissal of the service provider. Service
is lost in its entirety.
To reduce that likelihood, my approach to mediation/arbitration separates the two functions. I will act in the role of mediator. In the mediation phase of service, I will work with the parents to help them resolve disputes between themselves as best as possible. This phase of service is called “closed”, meaning what transpires in the mediation phase cannot be used or communicated for arbitration or court purposes even if your lawyers are included in the mediation phase of service. In the event of an impasse, service then passes to the arbitrator, a second person named specifically for this function who will make decisions binding upon the parents. With this approach, the neutrality of the mediator may be preserved and the parents can return to the mediator to help resolve other disputes.
Parents entering med/arb agree to use arbitration to resolve issues unresolved during the mediation phase. In other words, they will not take those matters to court but use another individual who is empowered to make binding decisions in this second phase of service. The terms of service for arbitration will be a matter for parents and lawyers to determine with the person chosen to act as arbitrator.
regard to costs associated with the med/arb service specifically, parents
typically divide these costs equally unless there is a prior agreement to
do otherwise or unless there is an Order of the Court specifying how costs
are to be distributed between them. The matter of distribution of costs
must be determined by the parents, lawyers or Courts, prior to referral.
If over the course of service a parent wishes to dispute the allocation of
costs between themselves and are unable to resolve this through mediation,
then this would be a matter for arbitration, bearing in mind that the
mediation service is a closed process.
Arbitrators available in Ontario include:
Kitchener/Waterloo and surrounding areas:
Don McIntyre: http://www.mcintyremcmurray.ca/contactus.html
The Greater Hamilton Area and surrounding areas:
London and surrounding areas:
A larger listing of family arbitrators in
Ontario is available here:
Referral and service process:
As a social worker, I
am respectful of people's different income levels. As such, the fee is set
on a fee-for-service basis using a sliding scale that ranges from $150 -
$400 per hour. The actual fee then is determined by your joint income, or
may be determined by your assets or a fee may be set at the discretion of
the Med/Arb service provider if income is in dispute. You will be charged from the beginning of the
scheduled appointment time, even if you are late. Appointments
cancelled with less than 48 hours (two business days) will be billed for
one hour. Further, time will be taken at the beginning of the first
meeting for me to present my qualifications, experience and approach to
service so that service is provided on an informed basis. This is deemed
part of the time provided and billed for.
A retainer based on 20 hours of
service at the respective rate, as per
the fee schedule below, is required prior to commencing. Billing will be
on basis of actual time spent on any activity related to the assessment
critique service, charged at the rate as per the fee schedule below, plus
HST. You will be billed for any activity directed to your case. If less
time is taken than covered by the retainer, a refund will be issued. If
more time is required than covered by the retainer, the mediator may ask
for additional funds to be provided before continuing the mediation.
Fee Schedule (based on joint
Third Party Payments (EAP and
other Benefit Providers):
Pleased be advised
that I do not accept payment by third party payers (benefit or EAP
providers) whatsoever. People are directly responsible for payment of
services as per the information above at the time of service. A receipt
will be provided with which persons can seek reimbursement from their EAP
or benefit provider. I take no responsibility for your reimbursement.
Reimbursement remains a matter between you and your benefit or EAP
If you do seek
reimbursement through your benefit or EAP provider and I am called to
verify the charge, I will do so with your implied consent. My disclosure
will be limited to advising of my credentials as well as verifying the
billing information, service provided and persons served. Please note,
parenting coordination is a clinical-legal service and may not be covered.
No information regarding the nature or content of information discussed
will be provided without signed consent, for which you will be charged as
per the time required.
To initiate a referral for service, the Referral Information Form MUST be completed too.
Please note, people regularly come great distances to see me. If you are considering driving more than two or three hours, please let me know so I can set an appointment to accommodate your drive.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
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