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Mediation is a non combative way of resolving family issues by promoting communication between parties. This is a private and confidential process. During co-mediation two mediators set the tone for respectful communication between parties who are seeking a divorce. The mediators may well have different background i.e. one might have a legal background and the other social work or psychology expertise. The aim is not a winner takes all victory, rather a positive way forward for the entire family. The marriage or relationship between the parties may be over but their parenting responsibilities are not. The dissolution of a marriage or relationship has practical implications. The parties themselves are the decision makers in mediation. The ultimate goal is protecting the best interest of the children. Social issues such as care and contact arrangements i.e. where the children will live and where and when they will spend time with the other parent require determination. Financial matters pertaining to the division of property depend upon regime governing the marriage. In addition maintenance arrangements require resolution.
The mediator is an impartial participant and cannot act as an attorney or psychologist in a particular matter.
During this time of change for the entire family the guidance and support of a psychologist or social worker and the services of attorneys are not replaced by the mediator. Practical changes such as moving house or one parent relocating to another residence or suburb may be dealt with at mediation. Recent divorce case law illustrates that the Judiciary recognises and clearly support the role of mediation in resolving issues arising as a result of divorce.