FAQ About Child Related Family Dispute Resolution
1What happens if Mediation is deemed inappropriate after a Pre Mediation Conference?
The Pre Mediation Conference involves a screening for the appropriateness of proceeding to mediation, a discussion about your matter, making safety assessments and providing you with lots of information about family law mediations. In some cases, proceeding to mediation is not deemed appropriate after your Pre- Mediation Conference and the cost of the Pre Mediation Conference includes the issue of a Section 60I certificate allowing you to proceed to the Family Court of Western Australia. In some cases it is not until after both parties have completed their Pre Mediation Conference that a matter is deemed inappropriate under the criteria of the Family Law legislation, and a Section 60I certificate will be issued allowing both parties to proceed to the Family Court of Western Australia.
2What happens after the Pre Mediation Conference?
After seeing you and the other party separately in individual Pre Mediation Conferences and it is appropriate to have a joint mediation session where you both wish to participate, we can book a time for the mediation.
3What happens in the Joint Family Dispute Resolution Session?
The joint session of Child Related Family Dispute Resolution brings parties affected by separation together with the goal of resolving the issues that are in dispute. Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners at Blue City Mediations assist parties to reach workable agreements that are consistent with principles of what is considered to be in a child’s best interests. Generally the parties to a Child Related Family Dispute Resolution session are the child’s parents. In some cases one party is a Grandparent, a step- parent, a relative or other significant person in the child’s life who wants to reach agreement over ongoing arrangements to spend time with the child. People can often reach agreements about what is in a child’s best interests when they can have an open and honest discussion with the other party about their hopes and concerns for the child.
4What can be discussed in Child Related Family Dispute Resolution?
Any topic that could prevent a child from being placed in a stressful or frightening situation is fair game in a Joint Session. Children can generally adapt and accept that their parents have separated but they cannot adapt to ongoing conflict. In the Joint Session, there are discussions of where the child shall live, who the child will live with, whether it is appropriate to consider a shared care arrangement, and how the child will spend time with each parent and other people who are important to the child. Sometimes the parties need to acknowledge something that happened during their relationship with the other party, but the purpose of the Joint Session is not to focus on the unresolved relationship issues. The Practitioner will ensure that the children’s interests are the focus of the Joint Session and that topics discussed relate to arrangements that will assist the child to be free of worries. Parties may discuss what arrangements can be put in place so that the children are not exposed to any fallout from the conflict between the separated parents.
5What sort of agreements are reached in Child Related Family Dispute Resolution?
The process of Family Dispute Resolution allows parties the time to carefully discuss their children in a safe environment. Parties may reach agreements that specify who the child lives with and who the child spends time with, ensuring that the child can have a meaningful relationship with both parties if it is safe for them to do so. Agreements might cover where the children attend school; for the primary school years and high school.
6What if there has been a History of Family Violence?
Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners at Blue City Mediations have extensive training and experience in dealing with situations of family violence and dealing with vulnerable families. They must have a National Police Clearance Certificate and a current Working with Children Card valid for the States they are practising within. A condition of ongoing accreditation as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner is that they fulfil professional development obligations ensuring they stay on top of their field. Mediation may not be appropriate for the resolution of your matter where there is a current risk of violence to yourself or your children. Please feel free to contact Blue City Mediations to hear about safety options such as shuttle mediations, staggered arrival and departure times, online mediations and mediations via telephone.
7Is Family Dispute Resolution A Voluntary Process
Even though there is generally the requirement of compulsory Family Dispute Resolution before making an application for the assistance of the Family Court, all parties who participate in the process must being doing so of their own free will, without feeling coercion. As a party’s decision to participate in Child Related Family Dispute Resolution is voluntary, they are able to withdraw their agreement to participate in the Mediation at any time where they believe that continuing is not in their own best interests or that of their children. During the joint session, the Family Dispute Resolution process allows parties to request a short break for consultation with support people or legal advisers or alternatively to have a private confidential discussion with the Mediator about their concerns in relation to proceeding with the Family Dispute Resolution session.
8What if we are a Same Sex Couple who have separated?
Blue City Mediations has facilitated Child Related Family Dispute Resolution for same sex couples and would like to welcome with warmth any member of the LGBTI community who would like to participate in a Mediation over arrangements for their children.
9What if I have a disability?
Blue City Mediations recognises that a dispute with your ex- partner can be difficult enough without barriers to accessing a service that might assist with the resolution of that conflict. We all struggle in different ways. The Mediation process is flexible and can be designed to support different needs.
10What if I don’t speak English?
We can help. There are many new technologies that can now assist in overcoming language barriers. Please feel free to contact Blue City Mediations and we will make every effort to assist. We will take the time to make sure you feel confident in understanding the process of Child Related Family Dispute Resolution before you make a decision to participate, and if you are willing to participate, we will ensure that you understand what is being said with the use of translation apps or an interpreter.
11What if I practice a different culture from the Anglo-centric Family Law System?
Blue City Mediations Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners are trained in providing a culturally appropriate service. While the basis of the family law system in Australia are born out of an anglo-centric legal system, the Mediation process allows discussions of family and children that are born out of different cultures. We welcome anyone from a different culture to contact us to discuss any concerns they may have in relation to the Mediation process being culturally inappropriate for them.