What is Mediation and why do it?
Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution option that focuses on problem solving. The parties work together to solve the issues that are preventing them from reaching an agreement, with the help and guidance of a neutral third party. The Mediator facilitates discussions and negotiations between the parties.
Early intervention and the use of the Mediation process can help parties reach an outcome that avoids the costs, time and stress of court proceedings.
What will happen at my Mediation?
At the Mediation the parties will first outline what they believe the issues are. The Mediator will then assist the parties to articulate their desires and reasoning to help the parties reach an amicable outcome. The Mediator will not make evaluations or choose sides; they are there to help both parties. The Mediation is completely confidential and things said at Mediation can not be raised later in court. This means the parties can speak freely and discuss all issues to explore options to resolve the problem.
Will I be forced to agree with my former partner?
A key benefit of attending Mediation as opposed to a Judge deciding your fate, is that the parties arrive at the outcome. Neither party is bound to agree with their former partner, but can "agree to disagree" on certain issues.
Do my lawyers attend Mediation with me?
Mediation can take place with or without lawyers, and will depend on the circumstances of your case. In some circumstances where there is a large power imbalance between the parties, or a complete breakdown of communication, it can be beneficial for lawyers to attend to ensure fairness in the process.
What's the next step after Mediation?
If the parties are unable to resolve their matter at Mediation, it may be necessary to commence court proceedings, or continue with those proceedings if they are already underway.
It is not unusual for parties to be referred by the court for a further Mediation, if circumstances have changed and the court is of the view that Mediation could then be successful.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.