How does Family Mediation Work?
WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE WE START MEDIATING?
Once the parties have agreed to approach a mediator – An Intake Form will be completed by both parties. The parties will also receive a Mediation Agreement setting out the terms and conditions relating to the mediation which will need to be discussed and signed prior to the commencement of the mediation. In accordance with the payment terms, payment will be made prior to the commencement of the individual and first joint mediation sessions.
The mediator will schedule one 1-hour individual session (Perspective sharing) with each party prior to the commencement of the joint mediation sessions. During this individual session each party will share their perspective on the situation.
The mediator will establish background and context and will identify issues, clarify priorities, and explore areas of compromise.
Thereafter a joint session will be scheduled to commence the mediation.
What can I expect at the joint mediation sessions?
The mediator helps each party to communicate what is important to him or her and to hear what is important to the other party. With help from the mediator, the parties:
• identify the issues that need to be resolved;
• prioritize the issues and focus on one at a time;
• discuss possible solutions;
• come to agreement about parenting plans and/or financial or other issues;
• have a draft prepared of their emerging agreement;
• review, revise, and prepare the agreement for signing.
The mediator will guide and assist the parties at the mediation session to ensure that all the relevant legally required information is discussed, agreed upon and captured in an agreement.
After the sessions the parties will review and sign the agreement.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MEDIATION:
The signed agreements will need to be submitted to either Regional or High Court to become legally binding.
In this regard, you will have two options available:
Option 1: Only applicable to Regional Court
The mediator will assist and guide the parties in terms of the legal process to submit the required agreements to court for the agreements to become legally binding.
Neither party will require a legal representative to submit the documents to court nor will they require legal representation to make the agreement(s) an order of the court.
With this option, please note that you will be required to drop off documents at court, the sheriff’s office as well as the family advocates office.
The mediator will guide you on steps to follow. This option will incur no additional costs.
Option 2: High Court or Regional Court
With option 2, the parties will make use of an attorney to facilitate the court process. The appointed attorney’s office will ensure that a case is opened, the summons is issued, and the family advocate documents are filed. The attorney will then also be present on the day of the divorce.
Please note that should you wish to file the matter at High Court, you will have to appoint an attorney to follow the court procedure and they will then also appoint an advocate for the representation on the day of the divorce.
The costs of the attorney and advocate (where applicable) will be for the parties’ own account and have not been factored into Sikelela’s Fees.
We have a list of attorneys which provide us with a preferential rate, which we can share with you for your convenience should you opt for Option 2.