In this post, I am trying to provide information like, what is mediation, how mediation works, what is the set up for mediating sessions, who can participate etc.…
Mediation: A setup
Mediation (https://aifs.gov.au/publications/family-matters/issue-28/mediating-divorce-alternative-litigation ) is a facilitative alternative dispute resolution means. The mediator’s job is it facilitates the discussion between the divorcing partners. A mediator is a neutral person, who navigates the discussion towards fruitful results.
The mediator cannot pass judgements or influence the parties’ decisions.
The mediation can take in three formats:
- Mediation is done by a trained family lawyer
- Mediation is done by a Mediation Practitioner
- Mediation is done by a community-based mediation centre
Mediation Done by a Mediation Practitioner
This format is also called as Family Dispute Resolution and is recommended by the family courts of Australia.
A certified mediation practitioner needs to conduct mediation sessions for divorcing couple and provide a written document stating the mediation session has been taken by both the partners. This document has to be submitted to the family court along with divorce filing documents.
Mediation: How it is done?
Mediator shares the information with both the partners in each other’s possession of properties, the disclosure of full financial details, current market valuations or any other vital information that aids in the decision-making process of the couple.
The mediator must ensure that the settlement is done based on fair ground and both the parties must share all the details.
The couple can freely discuss the issues concerning them either one-on-one with the mediator or if they are okay, along with the partner. Whatever issue or facts come up during the mediation sessions are kept confidential. Disclosure of the same attracts serious penalty from the court.
However, if the issues are of serious nature and call for legal intervention, they are permissible to be brought under court’s consideration.
The mediator prepares a Settlement Report at the end of the session, comprising the agreed arrangements between the partners. The report must be signed by both the parties and the mediator. Please note that this report is not legally binding and the couple can still opt to approach the court for settlement orders.
Mediation: How divorcing couple can benefit?
Mediation is the best way to settle your separation or divorce issues out of the court.
How it affects your personal life, financial resources and time? Check out the pros of mediation:
Privacy: The mediation is done one-to-one or with both the partners, depending on the partners’ comfort level. This ensures that the individuals can share their privileged information with the mediator.
Assured Confidentiality: It is mandatory to keep the information shared during mediation sessions confidential unless the information bears highly severe consequences.
Cost: Mediation costs much less than other alternative dispute resolution methods or going to court.
Time: Mediation can help the couple to arrive at the solutions faster than waiting for months for court hearings and orders.
Impact on personal life: Since both, the couple try understanding each other’s point of view while working out the separation arrangements, their relationship is saved of bitterness, anger and guilt towards the other partner. This understanding helps them move ahead in life and provide a better future for their children by co-parenting.
Certain Outcome: As the settlement of finances and childcare or parenting arrangements are done by through discussion, both the partners are aware and in control of the outcome of the mediation process.
If the court is applied to decide the arrangements for the family, the court orders are uncertain and beyond one’s control, causing more stress to the couple.
The Attorney-General’s Department of Australia has permitted 11 organisations, that are mainly marriage counselling organisations, to practice mediation legally.
Mediation services can be considered for all the issues relating the family separation. However, relationships that are plagued by domestic violence are not advised to undergo mediation. Instead, it is recommended to seek immediate legal protection and intervention orders from the court.