“Mediation is a process in which parties are helped by a neutral third party or parties to explore possibilities of resolving issues between themselves by mutual agreement without adjudication” - (FMA)
Mediation is applied when divorce or separation is the outcome that a couple has determined for their relationship. Mediation is the less acrimonious and cost effective method of coming to agreements on care and contact arrangements for children (parenting plan), financial and maintenance matters. Mediation is the remedial alternative to lengthy and expensive legal processes that often have a devastating impact on relationships. Successful co-parenting is based on the quality of communication between the divorced parties.
In family mediation many different issues can be mediated. It is a voluntary process in which the whole family can participate. Mediation seeks to keep relationships intact or heal them while a family is negotiating for their own unique outcome that would address their specific issue(s) best. Examples could include whatever presents a difficulty within a family like the sale of a property, the decision for a family member to have an abortion or not, family duties, interim arrangements during a pending divorce, how to share a pet after divorce, decisions with regards to a special needs child, how to care for an ill family member and many more.
Often the high conflict relationship between parents continues post-divorce which makes it difficult for them to manage their parenting plan and other decisions about their children. Provision is made in divorce settlements for the appointment of a facilitator. The facilitator is appointed by naming the person in the consent paper, by FAMAC or by agreement between the (ex)-spouses on a specific facilitator. The task of the facilitator is to uphold the best interest of the child at all times as in accordance with the Children’s Act No.38, 2005.
If a dispute could not be mediated within the facilitation process the facilitator has the mandate to make a decision in the best interest of the child(ren) which will be recorded in a directive. I am a FAMAC trained and experienced facilitator.
Systemic family therapy focuses on assisting the members of the family to understand and heal the relationship issues that might exist amongst them. Interactions are transformed to empower family members to solve their problems in a different way to bring about emotional well being. Families experience predictable crisis following from normal life cycle transitions.
Examples of these would be:
Children leaving home
Marriage and becoming a couple
Caring for ageing parents
Families also experience unpredictable crisis like:
Divorce and blended families
The diagnosis of a psychiatric illness
Chronic illness or disability
Death of a child or spouse
Substance abuse and dependency
Couples are guided through a process to gain insight into the state of their relationship. The process facilitates analyses and understanding of their own unique relationship. Depending on the outcome, the couple would choose the best option for them to bring about change in the relationship. These change options vary according to the couple’s circumstances and might lead to relationship therapy, separation or divorce through mediation.