The mediation section will meet regularly to establish standards of practice and certification for family mediation, whether as a stand-alone process or as part of a mediation-arbitration or parenting coordination process (in collaboration with the other relevant sections); share knowledge and fellowship; promote the use of family mediation; and provide support for new and experienced family mediators.
Mediation is a voluntary, strategic, focused, fully informed and balanced process of negotiation. It is a ‘safe place to have difficult conversations’ with the help of a neutral and impartial third party facilitator. The mediator’s role is to design the process to ensure that each party is empowered to negotiate well for themselves. Mediations are confidential and without prejudice processes so that parties are encouraged to discuss, negotiate and brainstorm freely in order to reach creative solutions to difficult problems. (subject always to exceptions relating to child protection issues and imminent risk to anyone.) A mediation can regard small issues or it can be used to negotiate all aspects of separation. Parties in a mediation are strongly advised to seek independent legal advice and with the help of a lawyer, negotiations and resolutions reached in mediation can be turned into legal contracts such as separations agreements or minutes of settlement. Screening for power imbalances including family violence is an essential component of family mediation.