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Family Mediation Services

Conflict is expected in life; but conflict between separated parents can result in lasting bitterness and stress that may result in psychological problems for children. Family mediation services can help.

Conflict exists when two or more parties are unwilling to consider alternatives to a dispute. Conflicts can escalate and emotions run high when families are in crisis. Some people cannot bear to be in conflict and will tend to give in; others will fight to the bitter end. Everyone copes with conflict in different ways, but one of the best ways to resolve a family conflict is Family Mediation.

What is Family Mediation?

Using a third party professional to assist in family conflict allows all sides to be heard and respectful communication promoted.  Family mediation helps participants understand the conflict from all sides. A family mediator helps parents to hear each other and consider the alternatives.  The mediator assists in the negotiation process which can result in areas of agreement and compromise.

The Family Mediation Process

Mediation comprises two equally important components Assessment and Mediation.

Child Consultation is an additional optional process that might be helpful in the case of school aged children.

The Assessment Interview

The assessment process is vital to the family mediation process.  At the assessment interview each participant speaks privately with our mediator. This pre-mediation interview will allow you to discuss your feelings and explore your options in a free and candid manner. The mediator will also coach you on the most effective way to approach the areas of dispute you have with the other parent. This can assist you to engage in the mediation process in a manner that is most likely to lead to agreement.

This initial interview will help you decide whether mediation is suitable for you and what type of mediation would be best in your circumstances. In some cases your mediator may determine that mediation is inappropriate. It is essential that no party feel threatened or fearful of engaging in family mediation.  If mediation is right for you, the next step is to schedule a mediation session.

Family Mediation Sessions

During the family mediation process, our mediator remains neutral and assists each party to be heard and to listen to each other. Establishing a respectful environment helps to   avoid personal attacks and disagreements. The mediator keeps the conversation on topic and works to explore options and reach agreement.

Reaching an agreement that best meets the needs of the children and their parents is the goal. Through mediation both sides can better understand the dispute and forge a way forward that will alleviate further stress for both children and parents. Parties may learn a new way of communicating that can be to everyone’s benefit.

The needs of parties vary. Mediation may resolve your issues quickly or coming to a reasonable compromise may require multiple sessions.

Agreements made during mediation are completely confidential and are not binding unless the parties choose to form a legal agreement.

Child Consultation

Parental separation can be extremely stressful for children. In some cases there is benefit in allowing children to have a voice in the arrangements parents are negotiating about their care. This can help children to feel that parents are listening to their needs and to adapt better to the changes in the family.

A trained professional Child Consultant is engaged for this process. It is not appropriate for a child to attend mediation but the Child Consultant can attend and speak on their behalf after speaking with the child in a non-threatening environment.

The process includes the Child Consultant speaking first with each parent, both of whom must give approval for the process. Provided the Consultant does not ascertain any risk to the child, they then interview the child/children. After this interview the Consultant attends a mediation session with the mediator and speaks to the parents about the needs of the child. Hearing the voice of their children can help parents to cooperate around their best interests.

A child is never asked to choose between parents. Age appropriate techniques are used to interview children, who must be at least 6 years old to participate.

Contact us on 02 4940 4602