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FAQ AND CONCERNS ABOUT FAMILY MEDIATION


"Don't fight forces; Use them."

                                                                                                   Buckminster Fuller


Q: I really don't know what mediation is all about?

A: Mediation is facilitated or assisted negotiation and you should not begin until you are fully informed about the process. Please see the **mediation** section on this website for further information.

Q: My spouse comes across very well, will he or she spouse be able to manipulate the process?

A: The mediator role includes preventing manipulation. If you are not satisfied, you can withdraw from mediation;

Q: Will my spouse be able to dominate the mediation session?

A: One of the mediator's tasks as process manager, is to balance the power between the parties.

Q: My spouse and I can not communicate, so what is the point of mediation?

A: The mediator will help you both by facilitating communication.

Q: I am having a difficult time emotionally with our separation and I do not really want to let my spouse see my inner feelings. Do I have to, I am afraid?

A: You can meet with the mediator individually at the initial stages of mediation or in private meetings (caucuses) throughout to talk about your discomfort and control subsequent public disclosures;

Q: I am worried that I will not get a fair hearing at mediation, as opposed to in Court?

A: There is no restriction on raising all the issues which are important to you in mediation. The mediator will allow either party to give up any legal right without the opportunity to have independent legal advice;

Q: I don't like open conflict.

A: The mediator job is to control and manage the conflict level so that both parties feel safe.

Q: What happens if I lose my temper?

A: Mediators are trained in techniques, such as breaks or individual meetings to reduce anger and bring the process back on line.

Q: I am afraid that the mediator may be biased against me as it is my idea to separate?

A: One of the mediator's obligation is to declare personal bias and you always have the power to stop mediation if you are dissatisfied;

Q: Am I giving up control over my life and my future?

A: The mediator does not make decisions for you and cannot impose them on you. All decisions made in mediation must be voluntary, and make sense for you. The object is to change a"win-lose" approach into a "win-win" one.

Q: I do not want to face my spouse. He or she is angry, hurt and bitter. He or she hates me.

A: The mediator can be used as a buffer to deflect and diffuse emotions, and is trained to try and bring about positive reactions from the parties. Private sessions (caucuses) allow openness without danger of hurt and the mediator works to reduce harm from emotions. Where appropriate, the mediator will control the process to reduce emotional stress, and will refer you and/or your spouse to a therapist for counselling.

Q: Will mediation cost too much?

A: Mediation is often, although not always, less expensive than going to court. Fees are usually divided between the parties. Also please remember that you can stop the process at any time you think it is becoming too expensive.

Q: My spouse has more money, and will be paying more of the mediator's fees. Will this influence the mediator?

A No. The mediator acts for all parties impartially regardless of fee arrangement.

Q: I am afraid that my spouse is trying to delay matters by using mediation

A: The mediator can quickly deal with urgent matters first so that any adverse affects from delay are minimised;

Q: Do I give up my rights to go to court if I agree to mediate?

A: No, litigation is usually only "suspended" during mediation.

Q: My spouse keeps changing his or her mind. What if this happens between mediation sessions?

A: Until a final agreement is reached, either party can change their mind. The mediator will discuss this at your next session and review other, perhaps better options, for agreement.

Q: What good is an agreement reached in mediation?

A: An agreement reached in mediation, often called a memorandum of understanding can be made into a binding contract or court order;

Q: Can the agreement reached be charged if circumstances change;

A: Mediated agreements, especially involving parenting issues usually provide for future review, to meet changing circumstances and needs;