Family Law Mediation
“Couples who have successfully resolved their disputes wisely, efficiently and cost effectively through mediation certainly need no convincing of its benefits in comparison to costly, time consuming, antagonistic litigation processes which lead only to pyrrhic victories”. (The Which? Guide to Divorce).
Why choose Family Law Mediation and Not Litigation?
What is a Family Law Mediator?
Our Mediators are qualified Family Dispute Resolution Providers and Mental Health professionals; we work within the context of the Family Law Act and have over 10 years of experience of therapeutic mediation and counselling work with children and parents. Our Mediators are independent, impartial and neutral negotiators. We don’t take sides. We work for the benefit of the whole family and your children’s best interest is our priority.
As there is only one mediator (who holds everyones view and opinion), s/he will have a good understanding of all the issues, fears and hopes of both parents and the children. Our Mediators are used to working with parents who have opposing views and ideas about parenting after separation. We are also used to working with parents who already have Parenting Orders and things are still very conflicted and not working. We carefully consider both parents views and opinions and hold these while we navigate the path to a parenting plan that both parents can agree upon and more importantly, meets the needs of their children. This is so different from litigation where Parenting Orders are made by a judge who doesn’t know you or your children or your individual circumstances!
How Does Mediation Work?
At Mindful Relationships our job is to help parents find a practical, fair and reasonable agreement that follows both parents input and feedback. Frequently, this is much harder than it sounds because when most parents separate they suffer a high level of stress and anxiety and this makes it hard for them to focus on their children at a time when their children need them the most. Unfortunately, parents can become entrenched and stuck in their own positions about what is “right” for their children. Our mediators’ aim and challenge is to allow each parent to explore the meaning they associate with the separation and then help each of them to re-focus and consider the best interest of their children. What we know is that parents who reach their own agreement in mediation are likely to follow through and comply with these agreements rather than those parents who have had to resolve to orders that have been imposed by court. Further, when parents mediate children are less likely to suffer the long term consequences of the 'fall out' of the conflict and they are more likely to adjust to the separation much faster.
Child Informed Mediation
Over the last decade we have experienced and observed that Child Informed Mediation has had a significant impact on helping parents move past their separation arguments and focus on the best interest of their children. Unfortunately, asking parents to focus on their children and their needs is not enough when they themselves are highly distressed and in the state of “fight or flight’. We have observed that an indirect presence of their own child in the mediation session causes parents to dramatically shift their own spinning feelings and focus on the needs of their child. Having the voice of their child fed back by a professional child consultant, who has spent time with their child learning about his/her experience of the separation and conflict, helps parents to move past their own circling distress and begin to re-focus on their common priority, their child. The shift from “I” to “us” as co-parents helps both parties to be jointly responsible and work as a team to achieve a truly child focused parenting plan. When young children (0 to 4 years old) are involved our feedback and recommendations are based on your individual circumstance, our years of experience in this area of work and research findings, our family law mediation remains child informed.
How Long Will Family Law Mediation Take?
Normally Family Law Mediation can take between 4 to six sessions before a Parenting Plan is formulated and agreed. Each session is between 1 ½ to two hours long.
Do We Both Have To Come At The Same Time?
No, you don’t have to come at the same time and sometimes there are good reasons that you don’t. However, mediation is the most effective and time efficient when we use a combination of individual and joint sessions.
Through negotiation with you and your ex-partner we will help you formulate a post separation parenting plan. This plan will include details such as:
What is a Certificate 60I?
When parents are not in agreement about parenting matters, the Family Law Act requires that they must attend Mediation and obtain a Certificate of Attendance (Section 60I Certificate) before an application for a Parenting Order can be made to the Court.
Who can issue a Certificate 60I?
At Mindful Relationships our Family Law Mediators are Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (FDRP) and they can issue a Certificate 60I.
When will a Certificate 60I be issued?
Is the Mediation agreement legally binding?
A Parenting Plan established in mediation does not have legal obligation but can be taken into account in consequent parenting proceedings including contravention proceedings. You may choose to lodge a signed copy of the Parenting Plan with The Family Court as part of an Application for Consent Orders. You are advised to obtain legal advice before lodging an Application for Consent Orders with the Family Court.
What happens if we can’t reach an agreement?
While most of our mediation is successful, we do encounter rare situations where an agreement between both parents is impossible and we will issue a Certificate 60I enabling them to resort to litigation, if they wish to. However, at least at this stage, both parents have identified specific points of agreement and disagreement!
Before you see a Counsellor or a Mediator, wouldn’t you like to know how good he or she is? Wouldn’t you like to know that your time and money is wisely spent? Well, at Mindful Relationships we pride ourselves on the fact that over the last 10 years “word of mouth” recommendation has been 100% of our referral base. And now the secret is out! We are growing and we want to offer our unique Counselling and Mediation services to more children, adults, couples and families who would benefit from expert Counselling and Mediation. We know we can make a difference!.