Our aim is to ensure that your whole mediation experience is smooth from start to finish, from the initial registration to intake, through your mediation and documenting your agreement.
If one party or both parties have legal representatives then your lawyers will be familiar with the process of registering for a mediation and they will jointly make the arrangements with us. Usually this involves the lawyers contacting our office for available dates that suit all parties and the mediator.
Once the mediation has been booked, arrangements will be made for you to attend an intake session, either by telephone or zoom. You will see more about our intake process below.
We recognise that sometimes parties cannot afford lawyers or choose not to engage lawyers to assist them. In those circumstances we can still assist parties and in fact we specialise in this type of “lawyer free” mediation.
Generally when you are thinking about mediation there will be two possible scenarios.
In the first scenario you will have discussed attending mediation with your former partner and agree that you will both attend mediation together. Here one of you will call our office to make the arrangements, or you might prefer to send a joint email and one of our team can get in touch.
In the second scenario it may be that it is just not that straight forward. Quite often one party is ready to proceed and the other is either not ready or not aware that mediation is an option. Here, after you have contacted us, we can contact the other party and invite them to attend at mediation. If the other party agrees then we will arrange for the mediation to occur.
Once the mediation has been confirmed, whether you have lawyers acting for you or not, we will send out our mediation agreement. This document explains our role and sets out the agreement between you, the other party and us to make a genuine attempt to resolve the matter. The agreement provides information about the role of the mediator as well. We send this document to you before the intake session so that you can ask any questions about that document during intake.
Prior to the mediation we will arrange an individual intake session with you. This session occurs by telephone or zoom and is a meeting to discuss with you the mediation process, gain an understanding of those matters which are important to you to resolve and answer any questions you may have.
One of the benefits of having an intake session before the actual mediation is to allow the mediator to get a good understanding before the mediation of the issues which are important to you. It also means that when we come to the mediation day we can jump in and get started straight away.
You will be asked to make payment for your mediation in the days leading up to the mediation. The fees for either a half day (4 hours) or full day (8 hours) mediation will have been quoted to you and an invoice will have been issued. If you are sharing the fees with your partner we will issue two invoices for you to pay half each. If one party is paying the mediation fee one invoice will be issued. You will be asked to ensure that your mediation has been paid in advance of the mediation.
Though the invoice has been issued and paid, the money paid by you is held in our trust account until after the mediation is concluded.
On the mediation day you will be welcomed into our office by our friendly team. During our intake session we will have established whether the mediation will be more productive if both parties are in separate rooms or the same rooms. Our mediator will greet you and be ready to start your day.
If you have lawyers, your lawyers will be responsible for documenting your agreement. Where you chose our “lawyer free” option we will assist you in preparing a heads of agreement and provide you with a referral to a local lawyer who can assist you in formally documenting your agreement as a consent order or financial agreement.
During our intake session there are a number of frequently asked questions. These are as follows.
Do we have to be in the same room?
You do not need to be the same room as your partner. Whilst you may have a relatively amicable separation we find that when it comes to sitting down and nutting out the details of your agreement it can be difficult to sit in the same room.
One of the big benefits of shuttle mediation (sitting in different rooms) particularly in parenting matters, is that it allows you some time and space to process the proposals that are exchanged. It means that you can receive the proposal in a quiet space without the other party watching for your reaction.
Sometimes being in different rooms is better.
On other occasions, for example where you have mostly agreed how to divide your property and need some assistance in working out those details it might be easier to be in the same room.
It will depend on you and it will depend on the type of dispute
There is a domestic violence order, is mediation still possible?
It is possible to attend mediation with a domestic violence order in place. As a family dispute resolution practitioner we are specifically trained to manage such issues. In those circumstances we offer a shuttle mediation where parties are in different rooms. We can stager arrival times and do our best to ensure that parties do not come into contact.
Attending mediation and coming into contact in that setting is not a breach of a protection order. Most protection orders provide for an exception which includes attending at court or mediation or other court type events.
How long will it take?
People are often surprised by how quickly a mediation passes and how talking about what they had originally thought to be a simple issue can take longer than expected to work through when different perspectives are considered. We offer half day (4 hours) or full day (8 hours) mediations however in both cases we can extend the time necessary to complete a mediation where the discussions are productive.
If you have further questions about our mediation process please contact us.