What to Expect From a Family Mediation Service

A family mediation service provides a less stressful alternative to court. The process is flexible and can be adapted to your unique circumstances. Mediation is also a lot cheaper and quicker than going to court. The process is also more collaborative and allows you to maintain control over your decisions. The mediator will help you find a solution that works for your family and can include things like:

Family mediation is available for anyone who has issues to resolve including:

Separation, divorce, parenting arrangements, child support, property matters and disputes between extended families. It is generally available through government funded services or private family mediation providers.

It is a non-confrontational process that encourages collaboration and problem solving strategies and focuses on the future rather than the problems of the past. It is also child focused and aims to reduce conflict to protect children from the effects of conflict on their lives. It is available to married couples and non-married partners who live together, parents who have separated or separated from each other, and same sex couples with children.

During the mediation sessions, you and your ex-partner will meet in separate rooms with a trained family mediator. You will be asked to bring information about the issues and any documentation you have. This will enable the mediator to understand the issue from your perspective. Some mediators will ask you to go back and forth between separate rooms if they believe it is necessary for the progress of the mediation.

When the mediation is finished, the mediator will write a document which shows what you have agreed to. The document is called a Memorandum of Understanding and both parties will receive a copy. The agreement is not legally binding, but it may be used as evidence in court if you apply for a Consent Order at a later stage.

Some of the issues you and your ex-partner will negotiate about are:

You can choose whether to have a lawyer represent you at mediation. Most people do not have lawyers at mediation because they prefer to be the ones who make their own decisions. However, some people think it is helpful to have a lawyer at mediation for legal advice and to support them in their negotiations. A lawyer can help with the mediation process by making sure that all necessary information is provided and explaining their client’s rights.

Depending on your situation you might need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before beginning family mediation. This is a first meeting with a specially qualified family mediator to consider whether you can resolve your issues through mediation and avoid the need for court action. If you decide to proceed with mediation, your MIAM practitioner will then invite the other person to a mediation session. They will assess if the case is suitable for mediation, considering issues such as: family violence, safety, equality of bargaining power, risks to children, and the emotional and psychological health of participants. family mediation service