Mediation services use accredited mediators and family dispute resolution practitioners, who have a range of backgrounds including counselling, psychology, social work, family therapy, law and management.
Generally dispute resolution sessions will follow a process of co-operative problem solving and can cover either children’s or financial issues or both. If the mediation takes place in the Family Court of Western Australia then mediation for children’s issues are conducted by a family consultant who is a trained social worker or psychologist. If it is a financial matter, a Registrar will conduct the session.
- living arrangements;
- contact arrangements;
- best management of contact changeover;
- relationship issues between family members;
- property disputes;
- disputes over spousal maintenance or child support payments.
Mediation can also help you to:
- decide which areas are in dispute;
- explore possible safe solutions, taking one problem at a time;
- clarify your agreement/outcome;
- identify potential risks to children and families.
Mediation takes place in an environment of co-operation. In mediation you will be encouraged to make your own decisions and if necessary you will be offered professional guidance to do this. The benefits of mediation will differ for each individual; however, the key advantages are that it provides people with:
- solutions they have been part of creating;
- answers through facilitated discussion;
- an opportunity to listen to each other without blame and competition;
- sessions at mutually convenient times;
- a service which is private and confidential;
- an opportunity to present their own views in their own words.
- The parties will initially meet with a mediator separately. At this appointment the mediator will explain the process and assess how best to proceed with the mediation.
- Following the individual sessions, the parties will then meet with a mediator collectively, and if the parties have lawyers, their lawyers will often also attend. During the mediation session the mediator will assist the parties to explore the issues in dispute; develop options and negotiate possible outcomes; work out priorities; find common ground.
- At the finalisation of a mediation, the mediator will usually summarise the agreement verbally or in writing and discuss appropriate next steps.
Part of that discussion may be about whether the agreement be kept between the parties or formalised by a lawyer for transference to court forms.
Generally what is said during a mediation session may not be used in evidence in family law hearings or proceedings.
Exceptions include a legal requirement to report a suspicion or risk of child abuse to the relevant authorities, and where there is violence or a threat of violence or an admission or disclosure of child abuse in certain circumstances.
We have a Nationally Accredited Mediator at Lynn & Brown who is available to provide low cost mediations in property disputes.