couples who are separating are encouraged to attend a mediation
When couples decide to separate or obtain divorce, they do not instantly end up in the court. Under the Family Law Act, couples who are separating are encouraged to attend a mediation and conciliation process, which is also known as a dispute resolution process.
A family dispute resolution is an independent program administered by family dispute practitioners to help resolve issues between two separating couples. During the dispute resolution process, couples need to attend a session either on a weekly or daily basis where mediators will observe a duty of care in preventing potential violence to rise between couples and affect the children. In the process, the mediators will also help couples provide a peaceful justification over their biases and solve ethical dilemmas to arrive in a satisfactory result.
Before entering a family dispute resolution, parties are required to attend a pre-mediation assessment. In this way, family mediators can assure that both parties are intent in engaging the family dispute resolution and positive with the outcome that they can solve their disputes. Through the pre-mediation process, family mediators will also know whether or not there is a potential harm that may arise while the family dispute is going on.
There are several ways on which the mediation process can be terminated.
- when both parties do not attend the sessions
- when both parties may have attended but did not make any effort to solve their disputes
- when only one party is attending the process
- if the mediator no longer believes it is appropriate to continue the mediation process
When various issues have surfaced causing the mediation process to be abandoned, the family mediators shall issue a certification, acknowledging the reason why the couples cannot further proceed with the mediation process. In this case, the couples may proceed with the divorce proceedings.
Prior to filing a divorce decree before the court, couples are always encouraged to attend a family dispute resolution so as to minimize any court actions regarding the same. To some extent, divorce cases can be an expensive and emotional process, hence the court strongly discourage the same unless there is a threat to the family and the children.
If you and your partner have experienced major arguments in relation to support, custody, and property settlements, try to engage in a family dispute resolution before filing a divorce. It should be noted that divorce is only a last resort when every effort to reconcile has been exhausted.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.