Family Mediation is a process in which an impartial third person, the mediator, assists those involved in family breakdown to make arrangements to plan for or following a separation or divorce. The process is managed by the mediator but the content is decided by the couple.
By this method, it is hoped that couples will be able to explore the issues and concerns they have and to reach their own joint decisions. Mediation also offers couples an opportunity to explore their continuing communication together for the future.
Issues generally centre on arrangements for divorce or separation, children, finance and property.
At the point of relationship breakdown, mediation can assist couples of their options and make arrangements they can live with for their separate lives - particularly if children are involved. It can aid parents with making and reviewing arrangements for their children, reflecting the changing needs of children and of parents going through the process of divorce and into new systems of living.
Mediation aids couples to look at all issues arising on separation and divorce, including arrangements for children, financial and property decisions.
However, while mediation can assist in reaching agreements between parties, it is not a universal panacea, or directly an aid to reconciliation. Mediators do not offer counselling or legal advice and participants are advised to ‘check out’ all proposals with their personal lawyers. Most mediators/mediation services will provide some form of summary of outcome/memoranda of understanding to personal lawyers - with the agreement of the couple concerned.