DON’T GO INTO FAMILY MEDIATION UNPREPARED
KNOW THE BASICS
The Role of the Mediator – the mediator’s job is to:
- provide some general information about mediation and in the case of a lawyer family mediator providing information about what is in the Family Law Act.
- Helping you listen to each other
- helping you focus on one issue with a time
- asking each of you questions for understanding
- some mediators might focus significantly about the past while others focus mostly on the future (you can ask your mediator their approach
- encouraging each of you to put forward proposals to resolve the issues you have identified
- helping you understand each other’s proposals
- helping you to respond to proposals and helping you turn them into decisions for the future
The Parties Role in the Mediation – in a family mediation it is the parents who have the job of making decisions about their children. Both parties will need to:
- decide what issues are to be discussed (called an agenda)
- deciding what proposals or options you want to make
- calmly explaining your proposals
- ask questions about the other party’s proposals
- and finally making decisions
Family Mediation – what it isn’t – Mediation is NOT like Court. Judges make decisions in court – in Family Mediation it is the parents who make those decision.
Family Mediators don’t:
- pressure you to make decisions mediation is voluntary- even if you are compelled to attend it is up to you to decide if you make any agreements
- give you legal advice
- does not take sides
- and maintains confidentiality about what was said by each of you in the mediation sessions. (This is provided for in the Family Law Act)
- doesn’t decide what is fair – the parties who decides what is fair and of course fairness is a personal assessment but there can be any number of agreements that both parties would think a fair.
A mediator has the authority to stop the mediation at any time for a number of reasons which could be where he or she believes that it is no longer helpful for the parties to continue in the mediation or because an agreement that the parties have agreed to is so unbalanced or unusual.
PREPARING FOR MEDIATION
Our family dispute resolution practitiioner, Randal Binnie, can help you prepare for your mediation. If Randal is your mediator he will ensure you are prepared as part if his premediation process. If you are attending mediation through a government funded centre or another private mediator Randal will prepare you using The New Ways for Families approach.
The premediation coaching will help you to:
- Manage your emotions
- Be flexible in your thinking
- Moderate behaviour
- Assist in checking on yourself when you are under stress.
Above all you will enter into the mediation being able to set out your concerns, discuss the issues, negotiate and make decisions.