Family mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that can help separated or divorcing couples settle issues such as property, spousal support, child custody and parenting schedules, division of inherited assets and family businesses, elder care, the family budget, and other financial matters. Family mediation provides a structured environment in which parties can work together to resolve their disputes without the expense, stress, and time of litigation. A mediator can help parties negotiate a settlement that is fair and enforceable. The goal of family mediation is to reach a resolution that everyone can live with and that addresses their concerns and priorities.
The ADR process can also be more cost-effective than going to court, with fewer fees for lawyers, private investigations, expert witness testimonies, and other costs associated with legal proceedings. Litigation can be emotionally draining, and both parties can incur a significant amount of legal fees in addition to the cost of the divorce itself. Mediation is typically 20-50% less expensive than litigation, and it can also be significantly quicker.
While it is not possible to predict how long a case will take, the typical family mediation lasts two to three sessions. During the process, parents will meet with a trained mediator to discuss parenting arrangements and other issues affecting their children. The mediator will encourage cooperation and communication between the parents in a safe and neutral space, while helping both parties find ways to resolve their disagreements and reach a solution that will work for everyone.
This research will employ a mixed methods, naturalistic longitudinal design. The study will sample clients who present for family mediation at nine family mediation centres in metropolitan, outer suburban, and regional/rural locations in Victoria. Self-administered questionnaires will be completed at baseline, completion of mediation, and six months later. The research will map client profiles in terms of their relationship and demographic characteristics, and examine the effects of these variables on the outcomes of family mediation, such as changes in the types and severity of conflict and abusive behaviour, the quality and durability of parenting agreements, and clients’ satisfaction with mediated arrangements.
During the mediation, psychologists will be present to assist with communication and facilitate an environment of respect and trust. The presence of the psychologists will ensure that both parties receive a level of support in accordance with their needs, and it will allow for a more focused approach to the issue at hand. Unlike other forms of dispute resolution, family mediations place the focus on the wellbeing of children, which can have an immeasurable positive impact on family relationships moving forward. In many cases, it is the only way for families to resolve disputes about their children, and it can provide a platform for future reconciliations. It can also make it easier to create and implement a parenting plan that works for the entire family. Ultimately, a family mediation is the best way for families to come together and work through their issues. family mediation service