Family Mediation is a dispute-solving process aimed to help separating/divorcing couples to reach their own mutually acceptable agreements regarding the on-going arrangements for relationship between themselves, their children and/or the resolution of financial matters.
It is designed to be a voluntary process in which a well-trained, impartial third person, the mediator, can assist both parties to communicate and negotiate family issues in a confidential setting.
In a family mediation session, the mediator will help disputed couples to:
- Discuss and decide which areas are in dispute.
- Explore each party’s needs and interests.
- Expand options and assist them to select the most suitable solution.
- Draw up written agreement in details listing out how they have agreed to solve their disputes.
Family Mediation provides supportive and practical mechanisms to help separating/divorcing couples reach a mutually accepted settlement that is responsive to their needs and to the needs of their children.
Family Mediation can be started before any litigation begins, or at any stage during the process of litigation.
Our Family Mediators come from various professional backgrounds. They may have qualifications in law, counseling, psychology, social work or social science. They are specially trained and have professional knowledge covering skills in negotiation and dispute resolution. They are also required to follow our Professional Code of Practice.
In general, Family Mediators DO NOT:
- Provide legal advice. Parties are encouraged to consult their own lawyers for any legal advice needed.
- Offer counseling or therapy.
- Take sides with either party.
- Make decisions for parties but would help them to assess the feasibility of their suggested decisions.
Advantages of Family Mediation
- You may avoid the tension and conflict in the adversarial litigation system.
- You may save some time and money in not having to contest matters in court.
- You make your own decisions and reach agreements which you and your former partner are more willing and ready to comply with.
- Family Mediation can improve your ability to communicate with your former partner.
- Family Mediation can enhance your continuing relationship as parents and help you work better together as parents in the long-run.
Duration of Family Mediation
The time needed for mediation depends on the complexity and number of issues that disputed parties need to settle. The degree of cooperation and readiness to participate in the family mediation sessions would also be relevant. If issues are less complicated and the process goes smoothly, it may take as few as 2 to 3 mediation sessions, each lasting for about 2 hours, to reach a mutual agreement.
Our Family Mediators are required by HKMAAC’s Professional Code of Practice to observe confidentiality in respect of all matters discussed and/or disclosed during the family mediation session(s). When parties agree to proceed with family mediation, they will also be required by the mediator to sign a confidential agreement that all negotiations are to be privileged and conducted on a “without prejudice” basis.
Other Points to Note
Family Mediation may not necessarily be suitable in each family dispute. Parties may attend an intake interview in which the mediator will assess whether family mediation is suitable for particular circumstances.
Family Mediation will NOT be appropriate for: child abuse, domestic violence, any threats or criminal activities involved. This is because fear may prevent parties from negotiating freely.
Legal advice can be sought by the parties at any stage of the family mediation.
Either party, including the family mediator, would have the right to terminate the family mediation at any time.
Under the rule of confidentiality, parties must appreciate that what have been said or done throughout the family mediation session could not be used in any other legal proceedings.
Although settlement agreement drafted in the family mediation session is not legally binding, parties may seek own legal advice and then apply to court to make the agreement an order of court.