Mediation explained

People are faced with conflict situations daily. It presents itself in their personal lives, in the workplace and in many other areas. Since conflict is such a common occurrence, one would assume that people have the skills to deal with it effectively. Unfortunately, when caught up in the conflict most people struggle. They often need assistance to understand the root causes of the conflict and decide on the appropriate actions to resolve it. 

Mediation is a process in which parties are helped by a neutral third party to explore possibilities of resolving issues between themselves by mutual agreement without adjudication. Family mediation is not exclusive to divorce. Many issues are suitable for mediation. It is a voluntary process in which a couple, the whole family or any members thereof can participate. Mediation seeks to keep relationships intact and heal them while assisting the family in negotiating towards their own unique outcome that would address their specific issue(s) best. Disputes include whatever presents as a difficulty within a family for which they need assistance from a mediator.

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.

My personal style of mediation

An eco-systemic framework for family mediation

The eco-systemic approach to mediation allows me as the mediator to gain an understanding of the needs of the individual family members as well as those of the whole family system. I learn about the specific family moral code, who the family members are, the relationships between them, as well as their connections to social and other systems of importance in their context. Having this information, I have insight into the family dynamics hence better equipped to assist them with the split of the family into two functioning systems. 

I use the flexible nature of the mediation process to design a process that fits the unique family system’s needs and circumstances. It is a fundamental necessity for me to understand their context issues and the impact thereof on each family. These might relate to relationship, legal, economic, social, trust, religious, cultural, family, psychological, amongst other, issues.  

Where children are part of the family system there are multiple changes involved when moving from a two-parent household to two single-parent households. These might include new accommodation and schools. It might also include new partners for parents and children from other relationships to form a new blended family. This is a nuanced and layered process that considers the needs of partners and their children. The unique arrangements are designed by the family members themselves in the safe space that I provide. 

My mediation by design process follows a child centred approach. When the parental relationship status changes from being partners in a love relationship to co-parents loving the same children, children need to be heard, supported and included. There are various ways to hear the voice of the child as part of the mediation process.

Family business mediation

I have experience in assisting clients who runs a family business. Often the boundaries get blurred and business issues spill over into the family dynamics. This has the potential to ruin loving family relationships. The ripple effect in turn is that the business as well as the loving family relationships take strain. 

As I am an accredited commercial and family mediator, the combination of these qualifications allows me to enter both systems and mediate outcomes that are beneficial to the business and the restoration of the family ties.

Other mediation

Mediation is helpful to manage and find solutions to relationship difficulties and conflict situations such as those existing between parents and children, friends, business partners or works colleagues. These include longstanding entrenched conflict as well as once off disputes. 

Parenting co-ordination

This process used to be known as Facilitation but has been renamed to Parenting Coordination. The professional appointed used to be known as the Facilitator but is now called the PC. It involves my appointment post-divorce to assist parents with co-parenting difficulties according to a certain mandate and agreement between myself and the parents. I can be appointed through agreement between the parties, court order or FAMAC.

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