If you’re separated, getting a divorce, or dissolving a civil union, you’ll know how stressful this can be. This impacts on your health, your family and your work. Divorce is continually rated the second most stressful life event (just behind death of loved one). But it doesn’t have to be that way. Family mediation is an process to avoid the adversarial lawyer-based approaches which leads to mutually agreed outcomes.
In simple terms, family mediation is when a professionally trained mediator helps you and your partner work out an agreement on issues like:
- Children custody, residence, and contact
- Child maintenance payments
- Money matters like, house bills, savings, pension, and loans.
- It can also come in handy to help with other issues like, your children keeping in touch with their extended family – grandparents, step siblings, in-laws, and the likes.
Mediation can help you stay in control. What this means is, no one will make you do anything against your wishes. The mediator will help you find a solution which works for you both. A good family mediation process will result in a legally binding agreement.
It is not uncommon for a judge to expect you to have tried mediation before you apply to a court. Some judges may even refuse to hear your case until you have gone through mediation.
Family mediation is a non-confrontational means used to encourage both parties to focus on problem-solving strategies rather than the issues of the past.
Family Mediation Is Child Centred
When we consider the stresses associated with divorce and separation, we can’t underestimate the weight of those stresses for our children. Family mediation is “child centered,” and during mediation, the parties are advised to make special provision for their children, especially when such mediations are childcare related.
Family mediation is based on the same principles that apply in mediation generally;-
- Respect on both sides
How family mediation helps
- It helps you with decision making;
- It helps reduce conflict between you and your ex
- Whatever agreement you make can be always be changed if need be.
- It helps your children continue to maintain meaningful family relationships.
- It is faster and cheaper than a court of law battle.
Get in touch with family mediator once you know you need help sorting issues out. You usually cannot take your case to court until you find out if mediation can help save the situation on the ground. If you can’t prove that you’ve considered it, the judge may delay proceedings until you have gone through with it.
Once you’ve found a mediator, the next step is to attend the first meeting with them to find out if it’s right for you.
With some help from the mediator, the family can:
- Identify the issues that need to be resolved.
- Prioritize these issues by focusing on one at a time
- Discuss different solutions to issues
- Agree on parenting techniques and money issues
- Prepare the amended agreement for signing
Can a mediator give legal advice?
Though some mediators have legal backgrounds in other professional fields like mental health, they usually don’t give legal advice. Mediators do not advise or recommend any specific legal action that would benefit either party over the other. A good mediation company will have lawyers available to help draw up an agreement at the end of the mediation process. In this way, the agreement becomes legally binding.
In conclusion, mediation works. It is the job of a mediator to help both parties move forward and take the best decisions for their family.
If you are at crosswords in your marriage or family, now is the right time to consider family mediation. It could be an important step forward for the health and well-being of you and your family.