2. What are the advantages of Family Mediation?
- Family Mediation provides a mean of reducing the cost, expense, uncertainty, trauma and delay of litigation. You may save some time and money in not having to contest matters in court.
- It also helps to improve communication between you and your partner and reduces the tension, bitterness and conflict that you may encounter in an adversarial litigation system.
- Mediation can also help both parties be better prepared to deal with future disputes e.g. continuing parental responsibilities.
- You make your own decisions and reach agreements which you and your former partner are more willing and ready to comply with.
- Family Mediation can improve your ability to communicate with your former partner.
- Family Mediation can enhance your continuing relationship as parents and help you work better together as parents in the long-run.
Does Family Mediation take a long time?
It depends very much on the complexity and dimensions of the issues the parties need to settle. The degree of mutual cooperation and readiness to participate in the family mediation sessions also count. If issues are less complicated and the process goes smoothly, it may only take 2 or 3 mediation sessions, each lasting for about 2 hours, for the parties to reach agreement.
Do I need to pay for the Family Mediation Service?
You will have to pay if you retain the service of a private mediator. Some non-governmental agencies charge a fee according to a sliding scale based on the user’s income, but a few agencies provide the service for free.
Any other concerns about Family Mediation?
- Family Mediation may not be suitable for everyone. You will first have to attend an intake interview in which the mediator will assess whether family mediation is suitable for your particular circumstances.
- Family Mediation may not be appropriate for all disputes, e.g. in cases of child abuse, domestic violence, etc. as fear may prevent one party from negotiating freely.
- Legal advice can be sought by either party at any stage of the family mediation.
- Both parties have the right to terminate the family mediation at any time.
- Both parties must appreciate that what the other party says in a family mediation session cannot be used in any legal proceedings.
Agreements drafted in the family mediation session are not legally binding. You may, after seeking a lawyer’s advice on it, apply to the court to have your agreement made into a court order which will make the agreement legally binding.
Family Mediators are required by their Code of Practice to observe confidentiality in respect of all matters disclosed in the family mediation session. When parties agree to enter family mediation, they will also be required by the mediator to sign an agreement that all negotiations are to be privileged and conducted on an unprejudiced basis.