Frequently Asked Questions

About Clarity

Clarity is a team of professionals including mediators, therapists, counsellors, lawyers and more.

Yes, we do. We have a network of lawyers that will be able to help you with anything outside the scope of what our mediators can do. However, our mediators are all experienced in drafting a number of legal documents and agreements.

There are several benefits to hiring Clarity:

  • You get a wide range of services all under one roof—removing the time-consuming and emotional challenges of finding and dealing with multiple service providers in various locations
  • We provide help at ALL stages of separation/divorce process—whether you are simply considering it, or going through it, or if you need help healing emotionally post-divorce, or if you are moving on and blending families
  • We focus on the emotional side as well as process—so not only are we developing all the legal paperwork for you, but we’re also supporting your emotional wellbeing through counseling, workshops and other resources

We have two Ottawa locations: one in Orleans (Ottawa east), and one in Kanata (Ottawa west). You choose which one to come to—no matter what, all the services you need will be available there.

About Mediation

Mediation is used to come to a peaceful resolution with another party through the whole process of a separation, from start to finish.

The mediator acts an as “independent” and will work with you to find solutions that best fit all parties’ needs. As a neutral third-party process, mediation creates a safe and confidential environment that encourages negotiation, ideas and solutions.

Mediation can be used at many stages through a separation, divorce or relationship breakdown—whether, before, during or after.

At Clarity, you both attend a mediation session, where the mediator (a neutral party) will discuss all aspects of your separation. The mediator will help you both in negotiating the terms of your separation, including (but not limited to):

  • Custody and access
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Division of assets and debts, household items, pension etc.

The mediator will help you both with building an agreement outlining how your separation will proceed, including future decisions. Once everything has been negotiated and agreed upon, the mediator will draft up an agreement. You will both have the opportunity to review the agreement and make changes before signing.

At Clarity, mediation can also be used for parent-child conflicts—for example, if your child or teen is having difficulty dealing with their family situation and needs a third party to help explain their perspective.

A separation agreement sets out in a legal document many important decisions regarding division of assets, division of debts, child support, and spousal support.

You can; however, we very strongly encourage you to involve a professional in the writing of your agreement. Here’s why:

  • A separation agreement is the single-most important document of the entire separation process. This is the document you will need to follow for the next several years of your life. Therefore, it is important that you both know your rights and what you are entitled to.
  • Even if you and your spouse are on the same page now, things may change—and you don’t want to end up in a very messy situation later on.
  • Also, if you do your own agreement, it is not legally binding in court. This may cause several issues for you when trying to divide assets, as not all parties accept self-written agreements (like mortgage brokers and banks etc.).

As such, we very strongly encourage you to involve a professional in the writing of your agreement.

Yes, in a vast majority of cases, the mediation process does result in the drafting of a mediated separation agreement. While the mediation may take 2-3 sessions, the process carefully moves our clients to a place of “yes”: a scenario where they feel they were heard and that their needs and interests were effectively managed.

We recommend mediation first. It is less expensive, and the process is less time-consuming and less adversarial. Plus, you may be able to find a solution through a mediator, without involving a lawyer at all.

You do not need to hire lawyers; however, you may choose to have your agreement reviewed by a lawyer. We can advise you of your options, based on your unique situation.

You certainly can. Simply put, a divorce is just paperwork; a lawyer is not necessary for getting a divorce. One of our Clarity professionals can write up the documents on your behalf.

Mediation provides an economically feasible alternative to retaining legal representation.

Also, if you have retained lawyers, but feel they are representing your case inadequately, mediation is a highly sought-after alternative.

About Clarity’s child and youth support services

They may not tell you, but they be exhibiting signs that something is wrong. These signs may include:

  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Anger and aggression (in general, or toward a parent)
  • Breaking rules
  • Impulsive and/or risk-taking behaviors
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Other unusual health problems
  • Unwillingness to participate in visitations

If your child has gone through a separation, divorce or relationship breakdown in the family and is exhibiting any of these signs, we can help. Contact us to learn more about our services.

Essentially, our Child and Youth Counsellor gives your child/teen a voice in the matter. We believe young people need an opportunity to express themselves regarding their family situation. We will give your child the space and support they need to:

  • Feel heard and understood
  • Have their feelings and thoughts validated
  • Effectively communicate their perspective, needs and concerns related to your separation, divorce, new relationship and/or decision to blend families

We will also provide them—as well as you—with options and solutions for moving forward together.

We always start with mediation and the involvement of our Child and Youth Counsellor (for children and teens). In other words, we act as mediators for your child or children. However, if it appears your child needs therapy, we will make a referral and have that professional meet with you at our offices.

About separation and divorce

No. Here are the differences:

  • Separation refers to you living separately and apart from your spouse. You are still legally married. (Once you and your spouse decide to separate, you can move forward with the mediation process.)
  • Meanwhile, divorce refers to paperwork you file with the court to receive a legal divorce.

If you wish to no longer be legally married to your spouse, you will need to file the paperwork for a divorce. (We can help you with that.)

Yes. There are two type of divorces:

  • Contested divorce: When the parties cannot agree about getting divorced or about the terms of the divorce (e.g., division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, custody of children etc.).
  • Uncontested divorce: When the parties agree on getting a divorce, as well as the terms of the divorce.

Being in a common-law relationship means you never got legally married. Therefore, you do not need to go through the legal divorce process, However, you still need to have a separation agreement to ensure:

  • All financials are divided equally; and
  • Custody and access of any children is discussed and formally agreed upon.

For more information about common-law separation, read What you should know about Ontario Family Law.