Mediation is not like court. In court, the judge makes the decisions. In mediation, the mediator does not make the decisions – the parties do.
The following are important principles of the mediation process:
- The mediator does not pressure you to make decisions.
Mediation is voluntary. Even if you are required to attend by a court order, it is up to you to decide if you make any agreements.
- The mediator does not give you legal advice.
However, as I am an accredited family law specialist I can provide you with legal information (not advice).
- The mediator does not take sides.
The mediator does not make decisions so even though people may try to persuade the mediator to take sides there is little point to that. Remember it is important that the mediator stays neutral and to guides the process, not the decisions.
- The mediator is confidential.
This means that the mediator will not tell other people what each of you said in the mediation sessions. If no decisions are made, the mediator may issue a certificate under Section 60I of the Family Law Ac6 if the mediation concerns parenting arrangements. That certificate has only one use, to start court proceedings.
- The mediator does not decide what is fair.
The parties are responsible for deciding what is fair, since fairness is a personal value judgement and there are many different agreements that both parties can believe are fair.
- However, the mediator can stop the process, if he or she believes that it is no longer helpful for the parties.
There are times when the mediator might stop the process and withdraw from the mediation. Those circumstances can be because of issues of bias raised or matters that arise under legislation or National Accreditation Guidelines. The mediator may not tell you why the mediation has been stopped.