Just by hearing the terms, there is no doubt that child may conjure up images of emotions arising from court proceedings which may lead one to reside with only one parent. Severe family conflicts arising from heated arguments and misunderstandings are also not good to witness for a child at young age. Studies suggest that a child who is exposed to family conflicts is at higher risk of developing psychological problems than those who are not.
To protect the child from the traumatic experience caused by divorced proceedings, the government has initiated a conferencing program or mediation process where couples can settle their disputes before finalizing a divorce application. Mediation provides a venue for couples to resolve family conflicts with the aid of a family mediation practitioner in an orderly manner. In a mediation process, couples are basically required to attend a series of sessions with positive faith that they can resolve their disputes. In this manner, the child is less likely to experience the hardship of separation of parents.
When couples enter into a mediation process, the court will leave the responsibility of reconciling the parties and protecting the child to the family mediator. The family mediator also bears the responsibility taking care of the ethical dilemmas that may arise during the process to ensure that couples are given every opportunity to reach a satisfactory result and observes a wide duty of care to any children that may be negatively affected during the process.
It should be noted that divorce should only be considered as a last resort if couples cannot possibly solve their disputes. When domestic violence is involved, the family mediator will consult with the individual lawyer of the parties and assess whether or not the mediation should continue. It is also possible that mediators may not continue with the mediation process and issue a certificate allowing couples to take on their divorce application.
The primary purpose of mediation is to prevent couples from separating to preserve the best interest of the child to have a complete family. However, when couples fail to reconcile, the court will exercise its jurisdiction over the family matter. Prior to filing a divorce application, couples are encouraged to try to settle their disputes with the help of a family mediator.