Family mediation, also known as family dispute resolution mediation, is a procedure whereby the parties affected by divorce or separation attempt to resolve their issue/s without going to court or as a prerequisite before going into court. It is required in applications for parenting orders before parties can go to court.
The initial step is for myself, as a family dispute resolution practitioner to interview the parties to assess whether family mediation is appropriate. This interview can take place in person, through a video-conference, or on the telephone. Family dispute resolution is not appropriate in cases of urgency, child abuse, family violence, consent orders or when the issue is only divorce or annulment.
After it has been determined that family mediation is appropriate in the circumstances, I will hold a meeting with both parties present (either physically or by phone). Together, with the assistance of myself, we will identify the issue/s, try and propose options for the resolution of those issues, study and consider the options proposed by the other, and agree to a settlement with the best interest of the child/ren in mind.
When we reach a settlement, a parenting plan may be signed off by the parties. A parenting plan is a document which sets forth the arrangement of the parents for the care and support of their child/ren. It is not by itself legally enforceable. However, you can have your parenting plan approved by the court and this will have the same effect as a parenting order.
If you need to know more about the family mediation process, please contact me as I am only too willing to assist.