What is mediation?
Mediation is a process by which a neutral third party supports two people (or parties) to have conversations about specific items and formulate agreements that each party is able to live with. The most popular process of mediation for a family matter in Australia is facilitative mediation.
What is child focused mediation?
This is where the focus of the mediation is the best interest of the child. This involves asking questions about how the child may feel about possible solutions to problems, and keeping the child’s interest, rather than the parents desires, at the forefront of the conversation.
What is child informed mediation?
Different from child focused mediation, child informed or child inclusive mediation is where a third party interviews the children and reports the children’s issues and concerns back to the parents. This enables the parents to not only consider what they think is best for the children but to also consider the children’s preferences.
The person who interviews the child\ren is called a Child Consultant.
Child inclusive mediation is only appropriate for children aged over 5 years who are well and able to clearly express themselves. If it is decided by either the parents or mediator that it is not appropriate to interview one or all of the children, child informed mediation can proceed unhindered.
Is family mediation legally binding?
If a mutually satisfactory agreement is reached between the parties to a mediation, it can be made into a non-legally enforceable Parenting Plan. In order for the agreement to be legally binding, it needs to be made into a Consent Order. This can be done by utilising the services of a specialist Family Lawyer or by using the forms provided by the Federal Government HERE.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is the written agreement reached at a family mediation or family dispute resolution. It needs to be written down and signed by both the parties to the mediation as well as the mediator. It is not legally binding but if the matter proceded to Court, a Judge MAY CONSIDER the content in as much as it is evidence of something that was once agreed upon.
What is a Consent Order?
This is an Order made by the Family Court of Australia. It differs from a Parenting Order in that it was made by consent of the parties to the Order, rather than being imposed by a Judge or judicial officer. A Consent Order carries more legal weight than a parenting plan and can be upheld by an Order from a Judge.
What does FDRP stand for?
FDRP stands for Family Dispute Resolution Practioner. FDR means Family Dispute Resolution. An FDRP mediates family matters and is Accredited by the Federal Attorney-General in line with the Australian Family Law Act (1975). An accredited Mediator is able to conduct family mediations but only an FDRP can issue S.60I certificates.
What is a S. 60I certificate and when is one issued?
There are 5 types of S. 60I certificates. Your FDRP will decide which certificate is most suitable in your situation. The reason for the issuing of the certificate is confidential and cannot be discussed with you. The 5 certificates that are issued can be:
- a party to the mediation did not attend because they refused
- your FDRP decided it was not appropriate for you and your ex-spouse to mediate at this time
- both parties attended mediation and did their best to resolve the conflict but were unable to come to agreement
- both parties attended mediation but one or both did not do their best to resolve the conflict
- your mediation started but during the process your FDRP decided it was not appropriate to continue.
The major reason why an FDRP may decide mediation is not appropriate for your situation or might stop a mediation once it has started is because they have concerns for the welfare or safety of either party or the children involved.
For more information, please go to the Attorney-General’s website.