Preparing for family mediation
Preparation is key
Like many things in life, preparation is key to a successful outcome. Here are a few things you should know before proceeding with FDR mediation.
Is there a threat of harm to you and / or your children?
If you or your children are at any risk of domestic violence, call the Police on 000 right away. The following organisations can also support you:
Mind Connect 1300 286 463 (1300 AT MIND)
Information, advice and referral Helpline 1300 554 660
Domestic Violence Crisis Service (SA)
Phone: 1300782200 (24 hours a day, 7 days)
When domestic violence is involved, no one expects a victim to have to sit down with the other party face to face. If you have been the victim of domestic violence you will not need to take part in FDR mediation. We recommend that you get a Family Lawyer involved to help you and your children. You could be entitled to Legal Aid.
First things first: talk with your children
Keeping a calm and open dialogue with your children is very important. Ask them how they feel, and where appropriate, how they think care and contact arrangements could work. Show them you are listening to them. Try to keep your ‘adult’ emotions out of discussions. Keep your children out of parental (or wider family) conflicts.
Write down how you think care and contact arrangements might work best for your children.
It is sometimes difficult for us to think straight when our emotions are running high – this is normal. Presenting your thoughts clearly on paper can help. We suggest jotting down your ideal care and contact outcomes. It will help to give you clarity, and to help you to articulate your thoughts clearly when you are in the mediation session. You can use this to help you prepare.
Approach mediation with an open mind and be willing to listen. Parents who are open and listen to their ex-partner are more able to reach a settlement. Be open to different ideas, and willing to compromise so you can reach a peaceful solution on behalf of your children.
Make sure you understand your children's needs, so you can stay focused on them and not on each other. What children need is often different from what parents need.
Family mediation is not the place to focus on the other parent. The process is likely to break down if you and your ex-partner get into an argument about who said what. This is not a place to rehash old conflicts but rather to solve parenting problems after divorce or separation.
Please note that Adelaide Family Mediation is unable to provide you with legal advice.