Family mediation is a great way to solve disagreements about family matters without having to go through the time, cost and stress of litigation. Family mediators are trained professionals who are skilled in helping families find solutions to their problems. Whether you need help creating a parenting plan, working out a co-parenting schedule, or settling child custody and/or support disputes, a qualified mediator can make all the difference in resolving your conflict.
Unlike a judge, family mediators are impartial and cannot represent either party in the dispute. Instead, they work to promote communication and understanding amongst the parties in the dispute so that they can reach a mutually agreeable resolution to their conflict. The goal of a family mediator is to assist the parties in finding an agreement that meets their needs and interests.
Mediation is a voluntary process and the result of the mediation is entirely up to the parties in the dispute. It is important for both parties to come to the mediation session prepared. This will help the parties to focus on the issues and not on rehashing old hurts. It is also important for both parties to understand the limitations of the mediator’s role, as the mediator is not able to offer legal advice. It is also important for both parties to prepare a list of issues they would like the mediator to address and a list of things that they would not like the mediator to address.
It is important for both parties to bring a support person with them to the mediation session. This person can be a friend, family member, or a professional support provider. However, it is important to remember that the person attending the mediation should not be allowed to take over the discussion or undermine the progress that has been made by either party. It is important for the support person to be a voice of reason and to ensure that the conversation stays focused on the issues at hand.
Depending on the issues involved, the mediation can be completed in a single session or in sessions over a period of time decided upon by the parties. Mediation is typically 20-50% less expensive than going to court.
Some people choose to have a lawyer attend the mediation sessions with them, but this is not required. Often the presence of an attorney helps the parties stay on track and focused on the issues in dispute. The lawyers can also be helpful in drafting legal documents for the final settlement.
Family mediation is available through both government-funded and private providers. To locate a government-funded service call 1800 050 321. To find a private family mediator, search the Family Dispute Resolution Register. You can use this free online tool to search by location, name or postcode. family mediation near me