DIVORCE MEDIATION EXPLAINED
Divorce Mediation allows separating and divorcing couples to take control of the process and plan their personal road forward. It is especially beneficial for parents, who though separating, will need to co-parent together for years to come.
Issues that will be addressed at mediation for example are :
- Division of assets
- Contact and Care are of the children
- Visitation schedules
- Anything else that the spouses want to agree upon
It is important to mention that the divorce mediator does not make decisions for you but will guide you and give you information in order for you and your spouse to make the best decisions for yourselves.
Divorce Mediation is further always confidential and anything discussed in a closed mediation can never be brought to court as evidence. It is a safe environment to negotiate the terms of your divorce with the guidance of a qualified mediator.
The mediation process is voluntary and can therefore be ended by either spouse or the mediator at any time.
Mediation is a lot cheaper than litigation, and the whole process can take as little 6 sessions as opposed to years in contested divorces. Contested divorces can run into hundreds of thousands of rands, only for the matter to eventually be settled on the steps of the court before the trial begins. The money wasted on fighting the battle to win, could be utilized for much better purposes. In a landmark Judgment MB v NB 2010(3)SA 220 (GSJ), Judge Brassey said that mediation would have been a better option than litigation and that the exorbitant legal fees (R 750 000 in this matter) could have been put to better use, such as defraying the costs of private schooling for the couple’s children. Because the attorneys failed to refer their clients to mediation the court penalized them by severely limiting the fees they were able to recover from their client’s. The message was clear, attorneys have to refer their client’s to mediation when it becomes clear that they cannot agree on anything.
Divorce Mediation further lessens the negative effects on the children and the family as a whole as there is less trauma and a faster settling down period for everyone.
It has been found that children living through an acrimonious divorce have longstanding emotional and/behavioral problems as they are often used as “pawns” by one or both parents.
At the center of mediation is the child. The principal of the “best interest of the child” as defined in the Children’s Act will always be at the center of all decisions that are made. The mediator is not there to judge anyone but to ensure that all decisions that are made are in the best interest of the child.
In contested divorces a judge or magistrate ultimately decides on the terms of the divorce and care of the children. During mediation those decisions are in the hands of the spouses who ultimately know what is best for their children.
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