When a relationship breaks down and communication is significantly impaired, mediation is the appropriate course of action. Occasionally relationships can break down due barriers such as emotional obstructions, psychological stress or lack of objective communication.
A mediator trained in dispute resolution can help parties come together to collaborate on effective and objective decision making between both parties; this is often preferred over alternate dispute resolution methods as parties maintain functional relationships and a mediator does not make the final decision on behalf of the parties.
Mediation is a process in which parties seek a neutral 3rd party to assist in resolving disputes and fostering better communication within a safe environment. The process is confidential and it is the most preferred method to alternate dispute resolution.
A trained mediator acts as an impartial party to facilitate communication between both parties and ultimately reach an agreement between both parties. The mediator has a unique set of skills which equips him/her to foster creative problem solving between both parties.
Mediation services can solve a large range of disputes from family and divorce disputes, to workplace disputes, parenting disputes and business disagreements. It can be helpful in mending strained relationships and reaching a result in which both parties are satisfied.
In Family Dispute Resolution, Mediation is conducted by a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, who has qualifications in Family Dispute Resolution and must be accredited with the Attorney General's Department, strict qualification standards must be maintained.
A Family Dispute Resolution Mediator has a Duty of Competence, and is required to be of good character and possess suitable personal attributes along with applicable professional experience before independently conducting a Mediation.
A Mediator must disclose if they have been disqualified from a professional practice, have a criminal conviction, or any impairment that could influence their ability, to complete their obligation competently and professionally.
A Mediator must also comply with the Approval Standards and Practice Standards, all relevant legislation, such as Family Law Regulations 2008, and be covered by appropriate indemnity insurance, be accredited with a relevant association, and must have uphold ethical conduct whilst acting with fairness and honesty.
An initial Intake Meeting takes place.
During intake each party meets with the Mediator separately.
Throughout the Intake Meeting the Mediator determines the suitability of mediation, whilst obtaining a clear understanding of the relationship between all significant parties.
The parties are advised of the process to enable each individual the opportunity to prepare for the mediation.
After the Intake Meeting Mediation occurs.
Through a process of a guided negotiation, facilitated by a Mediator the parties are encouraged through a number of means to communicate freely with each other, to enable each party the opportunity to present their present and future needs.
There are a number of methods mediations can be conducted:
1. Joint Mediation - All parties including the Mediator are present in the room together, the Mediator facilitates the process between all parties involved to obtain and support an amicable and suitable outcome.
2. Shuttle Mediation - Each party has a separate room the Mediator facilitates the mediation through discussing and negotiating. The Mediator goes to each party in their separate room. facilitating the process between all parties involved to obtain and support an amicable and suitable outcome.
3. Legally Assisted Mediation - Lawyers are present with the Mediator and all parties. Lawyers assist their clients with advice relevant to their situation. The Mediator facilitates the process between all parties involved to obtain and support an amicable and suitable outcome.
4. Telephone and online mediations – Telephone and online mediations are also viable options; where by the Mediator facilitates the process by either of these communication means to obtain and support an amicable and suitable outcome.
5. Child Informed Mediation - In some instances, a child informed mediation may need to take place. During this process the child/children speak with a qualified Child Consultant prior to mediation. The Child Consultant then attends mediation on behalf of the child/children to enable a process where the child's needs are considered, to obtain and support a suitable outcome for all parties where the child's best interests are considered and maintained.
Mediation can be a positive experience as each party has the opportunity to express themselves and avoid the uncertainty and possible dissatisfaction that may be experienced in a court, where a judgment may be made that does not leave either party feeling satisfied happy or even content with the outcome.
Except in limited circumstances, the Family Law Act 1975 requires you to obtain a certificate from a registered FDRP before you file an application for an order in relation to a child under Part VII of the Act.
Part VII of the Act covers applications for several different types of orders relating to children. The most common are applications for parenting orders; that is, an application asking a court to make orders about which parent a child lives, or spends time, or communicates with.
The certificates, known as section 60I certificates, can be issued only on the basis that:
1. One party refused to attend the FDR.
2. The FDRP was of the view the matter was not appropriate to conduct FDR.
3. Both parties attended and made a genuine effort to resolve the dispute.
4. Both parties attended but one did not make a genuine effort; or
5. FDR began but the FDRP determined it was not appropriate to continue.