The family mediation process provides a way for couples or extended family members to resolve their disputes through a series of confidential and privileged meetings with a trained mediator. The mediator facilitates the negotiation of issues relating to children arrangements, financial negotiations with cohabiting or divorcing parties and Schedule 1 matters (financial provision for children).

Unlike family therapy, where time is spent on identifying old dysfunctional patterns of behaviour and how they play out in conflict, mediation is more time-limited and focused on making decisions that will help people move forward. It is not unusual for a family who enters mediation embroiled in anger and fear to come out the other end of reminiscing about positive shared family memories and agreeing on logistical arrangements that will help them move past their current difficult situation.

A mediation can be completed in a single day or over a number of sessions arranged at the convenience of the participants. Mediated agreements are enforceable in court, but the mediator will usually assist in the preparation of a Memorandum or Mediation Agreement for signature by all parties.

When choosing to negotiate through the family mediation process, it is always advisable that both parties are represented by an experienced and qualified Family Law Attorney in order to ensure they have the legal advice, guidance, and representation necessary to ensure their rights and interests are protected. It is also important that both parties are aware that while any agreement reached in mediation is binding, it can still be subject to change if required by the circumstances of a particular case.

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