Hi, my name is Melissa. I’m a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Broadmeadows Relationship Centre
This series of short clips aims to provide information to families about several key topics, the Broadmeadows Family Relationship Centre and the context and purpose of family relationship centres in Australia.
The mediation process, What the mediation process offers parents, and what the mediation process offers children.
About the Broadmeadows Family Relationship Centre
The Broadmeadows FRC has been in operation since July 2008. At the centre we aim to support families by providing information, advice and dispute resolution services to help families who are separated to improve their relationships and make parenting arrangements that are in the best interest of their children without the need to go to court.
At Broadmeadows FRC we work with parents cultural and social backgrounds. We can provide a culturally informed service to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and families from culturally diverse backgrounds.
We also recognise the diversity of family structures that exist in our community, and we provide an effective and informed service for LGBTIQ families and families in which there are multiple parties to the mediation.
The mediation process
Family dispute resolution or mediation is an effective way for separated individuals to discuss and negotiate how they are going to care for their children.
It helps parents or individuals to develop communication skills and strategies where possible allowing decisions about the children's routines to be kept between parents instead of decided by the court system.
Mediation can take one session or multiple sessions and sometimes agreements are made other times it is a conversation with no agreements, but the result is a much better understanding of where you and the other parent stand regarding your parenting relationship.
For mediation to be effective you must be ready to listen to the views of the other party and to communicate respectfully. You should focus on what is in the best interest of your children and be prepared to be flexible.
It is useful to have several options for arrangements and to work with the other party to develop an agreement such an agreement might not be perfect for you but it must be safe, workable and beneficial for the children.
The Role of the Mediator
The role of the mediator is to support constructive negotiation between parties. The mediator does not tell people what they should do and does not make judgments.
The mediator is neutral and supports constructive negotiation between parties. The mediator provides the process, and you provide the content. Our job is to keep you focused on the children and on their future.
The assessment stage – you will be invited to an appointment with us where we will conduct an assessment of your needs and presenting family issues. At this point we will determine if the mediation is the best process for you and whether we proceed.
Mediation occurs after the assessment mediation is a conversation a negotiation that occurs between parties the aim is to reach a parenting or property agreement. If agreements are reached, we'll write them up as a plan.
Parenting agreements work through mutual consent and goodwill. One of the benefits of a parenting plan is that it can be updated and renegotiated as your children's needs change.
A parenting plan can be made into a consent order if the both of you choose to do so. On the other hand, property agreements must always be formalised into a legal document. A parenting plan lasts as long as both parents feel it is working if a plan is no longer working you can try mediation again or apply to the family court.
Alternatively, if you both agree on the changes that you would like you can make these changes amongst yourselves.
At the end of the process, we will print out a 60i certificate. To use the 60i certificate to initiate proceedings in the family court the certificate lasts for one year and either party can request it at any time.
The most commonly issued certificates are
- A certificate acknowledging that you initiated mediation and the other parent did not attend. In this case we can give you a certificate to say you attempted mediation, but you were not able to do it because the other party would not come. This will also allow you to proceed to court.
- In some cases we will decide that mediation is not appropriate for your situation there are a number of reasons for this, but the main ones are if there is a history of family violence if there are safety concerns if there are issues for either party impacting their ability to work with our service.
- When both parties attend mediation regardless of whether an agreement was reached.
This has been a brief overview of the mediation process if you have any questions, you can ask your mediator or any staff at Broadmeadows Family Relationship Centre.
For more information call (03) 9351 3700.