Disputes are not an easy to face and the best outcome is usually by family mediation. There are some that merely require a neutral friend or relative to resolve, but other disputes are more complicated. For far more complex issues, a professional mediator should intervene. These involve two people, but they may include other family members.
One of the most common disputes is child custody. During disputes, conferences involve the meeting of the entire family. When mediation fails to settle the dispute, the parties must go to court, where a judge will make the necessary decisions. The court process is stressful, expensive, and long. Family mediation aims to prevent the problem from reaching the court.
Separated families are encouraged to agree on terms in caring for their child or children without going through the court process. When things are beyond simple discussions, a Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) steps in. Dividing properties and the children is never a pleasant step in resolving conflicts, but the separated family needs it for peace among its members.
If only one party agrees, the mediation cannot push through. Once the parties agree to participate in family mediation, the process begins. Here are the steps:
The family mediator contacts the parties and arranges an individual meeting. The initial meeting enables the mediator to see each party’s level of readiness for the mediation. The mediator takes this opportunity to understand the issues and expound on the process of mediation.
Once the family mediator accomplishes the individual meetings, a joint meeting happens. Here, the parties will review a Contract for Family Mediation Services and sign it. After this, they all start discussing the issues they identified.
Both Parties Contribute. During the mediation process, the parties work with the family mediator to deal with the following:
- Explanation of the family’s situation.
- Setting the mediation agenda. Each mediation session is designed based on what you prefer and what you must talk about.
- Finding out the issues that you must talk about.
- Prioritization of the given issues.
- Setting the time scales for various matters.
- Clarification of the issues to avoid any misunderstanding.
- Finding out common ground.
- Obtain and provide all the information that you need.
- Consideration of all options available, especially when it comes to finances.
- Arrival at the best option that best suits both parties. This includes working out the proposal details.
By the time the family mediation ends, the family mediator will break down the steps in obtaining legal advice about the proposals both parties have come up. The mediator will also discuss how the parties can convert the proposals into a legal agreement or even a court order. Usually, proposals that concern finances are the ones that need a court order. When they concern children, they just need to be converted into legal agreements.
Remember that the future of your children depends on how successful the family mediation is. Talk to your chosen family mediator and ask as many questions as you can. This way, you won’t go through the process unprepared.