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Family mediation and dispute resolution

December 12, 2023 0 comments

Mediation is a way of resolving disputes between people in conflict, usually facilitated by a neutral person. Separated families are encouraged to use family mediation to help resolve their disputes about children, instead of using the family law courts.

What is family mediation?
People refer to ‘mediation’ in many different ways. It can be as informal as having a friend or family member helping to talk through the issues in dispute. It can also be a formal process involving a professional mediator.

Disputes can involve just two people in conflict, or include extended family members. Where there are issues related to child protection, mediation may involve full family group conferencing.
When disputes can’t be resolved by mediation, the matter may need to go to a court for a judge to make decisions. Going to court is a long, stressful and expensive process. The aim of mediation is to avoid the situation reaching this point.

The family law system encourages separated families to come to their own arrangements in caring for their children without going to court. This can be done in several different ways:

  • Discussion between the parents
  • Using a friend or family member to help
  • Informal general mediation
  • Using a special family mediation process covered under the Family Law Act.

After a relationship breakdown, discussions about dividing property and future care for children can become very emotional.

Everything you say in front of an FDR practitioner is confidential. There are some exceptions, such as to prevent a threat to someone’s life or health or the commission of a crime.

What is said during FDR cannot be used as evidence in court.

An FDR practitioner must report child abuse or anything that indicates a child is at risk of abuse, and this may be used as evidence in some circumstances.

Psychological Counseling and Family Dispute Resolution
Unlike counseling, FDR does not focus on the emotional side of relationships. It concentrates on resolving specific disputes.

Participants may find it helpful to see a counsellor before going to FDR. This can help to develop a strategy to stay focused on achieving a positive outcome during the mediation session.

When FDR is not working, the FDR practitioner may suggest other options, such as family counseling.

Children and Family Dispute Resolution

Sometimes, a mediator will include children in the mediation if they are of an age or maturity that is suitable to the proceedings.

Other models of mediation can be ‘child-inclusive’, with a child consultant that talks with the children and provides the child’s views back to the parents during the mediation.

Looking after yourself
No matter who ended a relationship, separation can be a difficult time with intense emotions. At the same time as dealing with these emotions you may also need to deal with practical problems like new living and money arrangements.
It’s important to look after yourself during this time and get the support you need.

People with children may be concerned about how the children will cope. Parents need to make new arrangements for their children’s ongoing care.

Separation is a time of increased risk of family violence, both physical and emotional. If you are concerned about this, make a separation safety plan and seek assistance.

Tips for looking after yourself:

  • Seek professional help
  • Focus on the children
  • Stay healthy
  • Talk to other people

You and family law

  • The family law system can seem daunting and confusing. With the right information and help, and by focusing on what is best for your children, you will be more likely to be able to make arrangements that suit you and your children. Separated families are encouraged to agree on arrangements for children and property themselves without going to court. Many people manage to resolve family law disputes using alternatives to court, either
  • The Family Law Act is the main source of Indian family law. It covers what happens when there is a dispute about the care of children or dividing property after the end of a relationship. The Family Law Act applies to all children. It applies whether you were married, in a de facto relationship with the other parent, and if you were never in a formal relationship. It applies to all property owned by either of the people in a married or de facto relationship. he Family Law Act covers married couples who want to divorce and make arrangements for children and property.
  • Your rights and responsibilities
  • Children
  • The law focuses on the rights of the children and the responsibilities that each parent has towards their children. The law does not consider parental rights.

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