I wanted to share with my fellow mediators and most importantly with colleagues in the family law, psychologists, accountants and real estate some of the questions I am regularly receiving. It appears that the main challenge for a mediator is actually sharing with their clients what mediation is and the process involved.
What is Mediation and how does it work?
Mediation is a voluntary process which can be used in many situations where people are unable to reach an agreement to resolve a dispute. Mediation is facilitated by a mediator that does not have any personal involvement in the problem being resolved.
Why do Mediation?
Firstly and most importantly, mediation is cost-effective. It can be arranged and conflict resolved quicker than going through the legal system for family dispute resolution. It is also a confidential process whereby the court system isn’t. The mediator assesses safety in mediation to create a very private, safe and confidential environment for people to resolve their conflict.
How long between agreeing to mediation and proceeding with it?
Usually within 1 week. And from the Intake to the actual mediation is within 2 weeks.
What happens in the first initial meeting with the mediator?
I go through a series of question to understand why there is a need for mediation in the situation. Through a series of questions I also conduct a safe screen to assess if mediation is suitable. It is a confidential session where I am keen to get to know my client better and also assess for relevant referrals.
How long does it take?
The intake session takes 90 minutes. Mediation is typically 3 hours. Sometimes a separate session is required; we can schedule this for another time.
Who makes the decisions in mediation?
You do, this is the opportunity for the client to discuss their issues and come to an agreement without any unfair pressure or coercion.
The lawyer has referred me to you, why?
In the family law system, mediation is a mandatory process for reaching an agreement with children matters. This empowers the couples to discuss parenting matters for their children rather than a judge. A parenting plan (not legally enforceable) can be achieved, which can then be converted to a consent order (legally binding). Of course, couples do not have to go through mediation, if they are on amicable terms, they can reach an agreement on their own.
Do I need legal advice?
It is recommended that you seek legal advice before mediation however not necessary, keeping in mind that the mediator cannot provide any form of advice.
Are you able to find me a lawyer?
Most certainly, I collaborate with a large number of lawyers and will be happy to refer you to a lawyer.
Do you do property mediations?
Most definitely, I can assist my clients with property and assets division, this is another part of mediation which is also a confidential process. You will need to seek legal advice for further converting the agreement to a consent order or binding financial agreement.