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How does mediation work?

Couple attending family law mediation

I get asked frequently 'how does mediation work?' 'what is the process for mediation?' and 'how do I start the mediation process?'

I have written this post to answer those questions.

The mediation process is fairly straightforward. Each party in the matter first attend their own private appointment, referred to as the intake appointment. In order to start the process, the party requesting mediation needs to book in their intake appointment. This can be done through the online booking system, or by calling or emailing the office.

Once the first party books in their intake appointment, I will reach out to the other party to confirm that the initiating party has requested mediation and invite them to book in their own intake appointment.

Part of the intake process involves assessing whether the matter is suitable for mediation. There are a number of factors that are considered when assessing a matter's suitability and this would be discussed at your intake appointment.

Assuming that the matter is considered suitable for mediation, once both parties attend their intake appointments, we then organise the mediation session. This is the joint session both parties attend together and we discuss the issues in dispute with a view of trying to come to an agreement.

In some circumstances, we can organise what is called a shuttle mediation, which means both parties are in separate rooms and the mediator goes between them. Shuttle mediations are normally reserved for matters where there is a Violence Restraining Order, but can be organised in other matters, where appropriate.

Finally, parties can agree to a legally assisted mediation if both of them are legally represented and would like their lawyers to participate in the mediation.

What if the other party does not agree to mediation?

In some cases, the second party does not agree to mediate. This can be for a number of reasons, including wanting to use a different mediation service or not agreeing to the fees.

Mediation is a voluntary process, meaning that I cannot force any person to attend. If the second party chooses not to participate, the initiating party can request a s60i certificate. This can only be requested by a party that has attended their intake appointment and demonstrates that they are willing to participate in mediation. It will not be provided to a party who refuses mediation.

I will write more about the s60i certificate in my next blog post.

If you would like more information, please get in touch to discuss or matter or request a quote.

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