What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of Alternate Dispute Resolution, for resolving disputes between two or more parties without going through the legal system. Family Dispute Resolution also known as Family Mediation is a specialist form of mediation for Family Law Disputes relating to children, property settlements, divorce and child support.
Typically, a Mediator assists both parties to work together to reach a shared agreement. Unlike the legal process, a resolution is not made by a Judge and imposed on one or both parties. If the parties involved do not agree on a shared outcome, the dispute remains unresolved.
The role of The Mediation Centre is not to pass judgment or to give legal advice. We act as a neutral third party who facilitates open discussions. We use a combination of various techniques and styles to improve the dialogue between you and the other party (or parties), discuss potential solutions and, hopefully, agree upon a solution.
Mediation is a confidential process which provides safety for discussions to be had. The Mediation Centre guarantees your privacy with no court reporting, transcriptions or recordings made.
Mediators have a Code of Conduct to which they must adhere. The Mediation Centre goes to great lengths to ensure your privacy, although some exceptions do apply for issues involving child abuse, risk of harm or criminality.
What is the Process?
The Mediation Centre approaches every case individually, employing various techniques depending upon the circumstances and the parties involved. We like to think of ourselves as facilitators of creative problem-solving!
The first thing we do with all disputes is to ascertain the suitability for mediation and, if so, the type of mediation required.
A session is then scheduled at an agreed date and time. A mediation session generally takes three hours. With many cases, a resolution can be reached after one session. Multiple sessions are sometimes required for more complicated matters.
Although mediation is a trained discipline, there are no formal requirements for a typical session. During our sessions, we will generally ensure the following steps are worked through, that is establishment of, and agreement to, ground rules for the mediation, each party presents their story and then we work together to:
- Identify the core issues
- Identify the objectives of each party
- Search for a variety of options and possible solutions
- Discuss possible solutions
- Work through, adjust and refine the proposed solutions to move closer to a resolution
- Agree on solutions, and
- Record the agreement in writing.
What are the Benefits of Mediation?
Mediation provides an opportunity for all of the parties involved in a dispute to take control of the conflict and play an active role in agreeing upon a resolution. Regardless of the nature of the dispute, the salvaging of relationships has resulted in mediation becoming a highly sought-after alternative to the legal system.
Other benefits include:
- Self-DeterminationUndertaking mediation allows the individuals to determine the outcome, not someone else. As a result, it is more likely to produce an outcome that both parties find agreeable.
- Cost Savings
Mediation is a highly cost-effective solution to a dispute. This is because each party can share the cost of the mediation, rather than paying for individual legal representation. It is also a faster process, resulting in substantial cost savings in hourly fees and court costs.
- Time SavingsWhile a case in the court system may take years, a negotiated settlement through the mediation process may only take a number of hours. Although the time it takes to reach a resolution varies from case to case, mediation will more often deliver an outcome agreeable to both parties in a fraction of the time it would take to move the case through the legal system.
- ConfidentialityMediations are held in a private space, with no court reporting, recording or transcriptions made. Mediations are completely confidential, with mediators having a strict Code of Conduct to adhere to (although some exceptions do apply for issues involving child abuse or criminality).
- FlexibilityMediation provides all parties with the ability to work around employment and family commitments. Rather than responding to a date set by the legal system, parties can agree on a mutually suitable timeframe and location. A mediation session also delivers more flexibility than the formal protocols of the Courts, with the process generally informal.
- Increased ComplianceAs opposed to having a decision forced upon you, mediation enables you to take ownership of the outcome. Because this outcome is a result of the parties in dispute working together to develop a mediated agreement, ongoing compliance with that agreement is usually quite high.
- Maintaining Your RelationshipParticularly with family disputes, one of the most vital elements of mediation is working towards a resolution that not only protects the relationship from hostility during the process, but also preserves the integrity of the relationship long-term.
- SupportRather than pitching two opposing teams against one another, Mediators are neutral facilitators who engage both parties in defining a range of potential solutions. The Mediation Centre does this while providing support and understanding to all involved.
- Legal Enforceability Without the Costs
The Mediation Centre focuses on supporting both parties in reaching an agreeable solution with minimal damage to the relationship. This is often not the case within the legal system, but we believe it is absolutely vital when the parties retain a shared investment in their future, be it family or business.
We also recognise that disputes affect more than just those directly involved, and we work hard to minimise that impact, particularly within families.