Mediation is arguably one of the most useful tools in the family law process. The main reason why mediation works is that the agreement reached in mediation is mutually beneficial. In the majority of cases, parties will reach an agreement and even if they do not, mediation helps parties safely evaluate their options and explore settlement before going to court.
What is mediation?
Mediation is where an independent third party, called a mediator, helps the parties reach a deal.
What is the role of an independent mediator?
The mediator assists the parties to communicate with each other and make decisions relevant to resolving their dispute. The session usually begins with a joint meeting of the parties. Usually, parties to the mediation then break off into separate rooms and the mediator will go between. This process is used to diffuse tension between the parties.
Is mediation compulsory?
In most matters dealing with child custody, parents are required to attend Family Dispute Resolution before they can progress their matter through the Family Law Court System. Note certain situations exists where the parties may be exempt from Family Dispute Resolution, this includes cases involving family violence, child abuse or extremely urgent matters. A divorce is rough, but add children to the mix, and it becomes a completely different league. Once the parties attend a Family Dispute Resolution session, they will be issued with a section 60I certificate, which they need before going to Court.
Why mediation works?
Mediation is private and confidential
Mediation allows for parties to resolve disputes without lengthy family court process. They can resolve disputes in a private setting, often at the mediators’ office or at a neutral location for both parties.
Mediation can help with underlying pain
Family law is an emotional time, family lawyers do their best at separating emotions from legal issues but it doesn’t mean that the emotions will go away. Mediation allows for surface tensions to be aired and can help parties who might otherwise hold onto the pain of divorce or separation for years.
Mediation is mutually beneficial
The goal in a mediation is to find a solution for the parties that is mutually beneficial. A court dictated outcome may not be favourable to both parties. If both parties are happy with an outcome, it makes the outcome psychologically easier to accept and more likely to be followed by both parties. This dramatically decreases the risk of further issues arising later on. Mediation allows parties to control the outcome and find a win/win deal.
Mediation is less heated
When parties can have some control over the outcome, rather than be dictated to by a judge, they generally remain more respectful. In court parties will need to hear family lawyers say negative things about them. This can be avoided in mediation.
Is mediation better for the children?
Unresolved conflict is not good for anyone, while the court process will give you a resolution it doesn’t mean the issues at hand a truly resolved. These underlying conflicts and issues are apparent to children and can cause damage. For this and more, mediation is often the best way to go. They can be kept out of the room, and will never have to see or hear what happens.
Mediation resolutions are highly tailored
A court dictated outcome might not be as customised and specific to your family as a meditation could be. Every family situation is unique and a mediation allows the parents to create a solution that is best for them rather than traditional court appointed outcomes.
Mediation is less costly
Family lawyer fees, court fees, barrister fees, report fees and the like can add up. A mediation is no doubt the most cost effective option. You might be wondering, what if it fails? Wouldn’t of the court process been better? Not necessarily, as mediation can allow the parties to see each others case and save time which results in lower legal fees in the end.
Most importantly why mediation works
In our experience, most family law disputes can be resolved in mediation. If mediation does not work, there are other alternatives before going to Family Law Court including seeking arbitration.