If you are intending to ask the court to make a decision regarding parenting orders (orders about who your children live with, and with whom they spend time), or to make changes to current parenting orders, you are required to attend mediation or Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) and obtain a Certificate stating that you have attended before you can commence proceedings (with certain exceptions).
Participating in mediation or Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) can be emotionally challenging and some individuals may be vulnerable at such times or fear for their safety. In such circumstances they may not feel capable of facing their partner in a mediation process without assistance. In such cases alternative arrangements may be made. Those alternatives include shuttle mediation, premediation coaching and the use of a support person during the mediation.
Shuttle mediation – In a shuttle mediation the parties arrive and depart at separate times and are placed in separate rooms. The mediator “shuttles” between the parties. Although a shuttle arrangement may slow the process down, it allows parties, who are, or feel they are, unable to negotiate in the presence of the other party, to express their concerns in a safe and comfortable environment.
Pre-mediation coaching – Some parties are aided by having someone ‘coach’ them on how they should go about presenting them in the mediation. This type of coaching can be done through a party’s legal representatives. Alternatively, a party may be coached by a counsellor on how to present their concerns and options in a less emotive way.
Use of support person – A party who is at a disadvantage may be offered the option of having a support person present during the mediation. A support person can be family members or friends, or various case managers. A support person is someone to whom you can talk and from whom you can seek guidance during breaks.
If you feel you need to assistance in the form of shuttle mediation, pre-mediation coaching or use of a support person during your mediation or FDR, it is best to speak to your lawyer to make the necessary arrangements.
This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters please contact our office on Freecall 1800 609 945 or email us now.