Mediation is a negotiation process whereby an impartial third party known as a mediator assists people in dispute come to an acceptable agreement. Unlike the court process, mediation gives both parties full control over the outcome as it can only work when everyone is in mutual agreement.
The mediator listens to both parties and works with them to identify the core issues and come up with mutually agreeable solutions that satisfy their needs. The primary aim of the mediation process is to facilitate a productive dialogue between disputing parties in a calm setting.
Put simply, mediation is a carefully guided process that seeks to arrive at a fair and equitable outcome for all involved. It is supervised by an impartial mediator who possess specialist training in resolving legal disputes.
Family law mediation
Because of the significant delays and waiting times in the Family Court system, separating parties are strongly encouraged to make a genuine attempt at resolving disputes via the mediation process. Under the law, parenting orders can only be applied for after obtaining a certificate that confirms you made a genuine attempt at mediation from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner.
The purpose of family law mediation is to find a path forward, rather than attempt to identify who is at fault for the separation. The process helps to break down barriers in communication between both parties and reduces the level of acrimony commonly experienced in family law divorce disputes.
The mediation process can be engaged at any time, either before or during court proceedings. A mediator can help come to an agreement on disputes relating to:
- Parental responsibility;
- Child support;
- Spousal maintenance;
- Interim property;
- Contravention of existing orders and
- Implementation of orders
Mediation is also an effective means of resolving workplace conflicts. Disputes in the workplace have the potential to lead to a significant loss for an organisation in terms of both capital and managerial efficiency.
Because of the disruption that an employment dispute can cause, it’s necessary to have a resolution framework in place in order to address the issue as quickly as possible. The early engagement of a mediator can greatly reduce the financial and emotional stress of a workplace dispute.
Will dispute mediation
While it is often a sad and unfortunate scenario, it is true that a deceased person’s estate is often at the core of personal dispute resolution proceedings. Indeed, this is rarely a simple process and often requires the assistance of trained legal professionals, primarily because it is often an emotionally-charged form of litigation.
Mediation can help streamline this process. After the death of a family member, the last thing you want to be doing is spending unnecessary time in a courtroom. You should be focusing on getting over their passing, so you can move on and continue to have amicable relationships with the other beneficiaries of the will.
Will dispute mediation services focus on coming to a mutually satisfactory arrangement that will benefit all parties involved. The purpose of this is to try and minimise (or completely remove) any need to go to court to contest a deceased person’s will and estate. As a beneficiary of someone’s estate, you might feel that certain aspects of the estate were created while the person was not of sound mind and intellect. If this is the case, you have grounds to contest the estate. Likewise, if you were financially dependent on the deceased and have been left very little (if any) in terms of financial compensation, make sure you get in touch with a qualified mediator.
Different mediator styles
When engaging in mediation you may be given the option to select which style you prefer. Whilst your professional mediator will use common principles of negotiation, they can also offer you different approaches based on your specific needs.
Here are the main options:
An evaluative approach involves having your arbitrator be more forthcoming with opinions, recommendations and suggestions regarding your case. This is done from a perspective of fairness and legal merits rather than individual interests. This option is most often utilised in court-mandated cases and involves arbitrators who possess legal expertise in your specific area.
Considered to be the most traditional style, a facilitative approach involves the use of an arbitrator who facilitates a negotiation between the parties. In this approach, there is more emphasis on the interests of each party, rather than the opinion of the mediator.
One of the newer styles, a transformative approach aims to empower each disputant to come to a resolution by becoming deeply aware of the other party’s needs and desires (through the acquisition of certain skills). Firmly grounded in the tradition of the facilitative approach, this process can help to transform each party’s relationship to a more constructive one.
E-mediation tends to work like facilitative mediation, but is performed online instead of in person. It is often provided to parties whose conflict is so intense that they cannot be in the same room as each other. A third-party arbitrator may be present to resolve conflict or alternatively it may be done completely automated.
Finally, a professional mediator may also use a dynamic ‘toolbox’ approach in which they select elements of multiple styles based on what seems appropriate in any given moment. Consider your options and have a chat to your provider about what to expect before starting mediation.