Family Mediation is a cooperative, problem solving process in which a qualified and impartial neutral third party– a mediator– assists participants with the resolution of issues by mutual agreement. The resolution is arrived at voluntarily, and is based upon sufficient information and advice for each person involved in the dispute.
Mediation can focus on a broad range of issues, in which families experience conflict, including:
- Pre-nuptial issues;
- Reorganization of the family after separation and divorce;
- Future parenting plans for children (including living arrangements, time with the children, and decision-making)
- Financial support and property matters connected to separation and divorce;
- Inter-generational disputes;
- Elder care;
- Parental conflict with or about children;
- Family business or finances;
- Estate matters;
- Educational matters; and
- Other interpersonal disputes.
The primary responsibility for the resolution of a dispute rests with the participants. Qualified mediators do not influence the decisions of the participants during the mediation process. They may, however, give participants the benefit of their training and experience or ask participants to seek external expert advice.
The mediator’s role is that of a facilitator. When people affected by a dispute need assistance getting to a fair agreement, meeting their mutual needs, interests, and concerns, they may ask a mediator to assist their communication efforts.
The mediator will help the parties to communicate constructively with each other and, if they resolve any or all issues, the mediator can record the details in a written summary or memorandum of understanding, which can be incorporated, by lawyers, into a legal agreement.