New Zealand Law Awards Mediator of 2017. Timothy is a Trans-Tasman award winning professional working as counsellor, mediator, supervisor, Balint group leader and therapist with over 30 years experience in his field of work.
Why Choose Family Mediation?
When thinking about the way forward you may wish to consider the many benefits of family mediation, namely:
Using mediation helps you to find ways to communicate with each other as separated parents and is a more amicable model than the traditional adversarial legal approach.
Family mediation tends to fall into three different categories, day to day care of children mediation, relationship property/financial mediation and all issues mediation. Explanations on all three types of mediation follow later in this page.
What is Family Mediation?
Family Mediation is:
a process by which couples negotiate face to face about the arrangements for their future with the help of a neutral third party – a Family Mediator;
There are four main principles which underpin successful mediation:
What is day to day care Family Mediation? What are Children's issues?
Day and day care and children issues will typically include:
In fact, the list includes whatever you see as an issue to be resolved around your child/children.
Family Mediation can help you to find a successful way forward as separated parents, by:
What is Direct Contact with Children?
Direct consultation with children involves a family mediator, who is appropriately trained, and often referred to as a Child Consultant, talking with a child or children as a result of issues raised in mediation regarding children’s arrangements.
During the course of mediation, it may be suggested by the Family Mediator, or by the parents, or a child may ask to be involved in the mediation process. It is important that parents understand the views, needs and desires of their children and involving them in direct consultation may be the appropriate way forward. Children like to be informed and they appreciate having their views and options heard but not to be responsible for the overall decision.
Involving children in mediation can be very complex and a great deal of preparation is needed before a Child Consultant can speak to a child of the family. Different considerations may apply according the age and maturity of the child.
Timothy has received specific training on speaking with Children as a Child Consultant. Direct consultation with a child means that the child is talking face to face with the mediator separately and in complete confidence, away from anyone else including their parents. In many instances, children wish some of their views to be fed back into the decision-making process and this will be facilitated with their permission.
The Child Consultation may be undertaken by a separate family mediator (or mediators) from the family mediator dealing with the parents, or by the mediator working with the adult parties. Consultations with children last approximately 45 minutes and siblings must be seen separately with occasionally the offer of seeing them together as well. Children should generally be aged 10 years and over but younger children may be seen in exceptional circumstances.
How long will it take?
Usually it takes between two and four family mediation meetings for parties to reach final agreements for their child’s/children's day to day care plans - sometimes these will evolve over a number of months and parties will return to Family Mediation before the formal end to review, refine and change where necessary any part of the plan.
What happens at the end of Day to Day Care Family Mediation?
The mediator will normally prepare a Memorandum of Understanding, which is a document detailing your proposals, and this can be used by your lawyer to prepare a legally binding agreement. mediator normally prepares an Open Financial Summary which sets out a summary of assets, liabilities, income and expenditure, and separately a legally privileged Memorandum of Understanding; this is a document setting out your situation and proposals and may be shown to a Lawyer to obtain independent legal advice. If you wish, it is possible to have this document implemented as a legally binding agreement which a lawyer can do for you.
What is Relationship Property/Finance Mediation?
When a couple separate there are often relationship property/finance issues to be discussed and agreed. A Family Mediator can help you do this in Family Mediation.
These may include the family home, mortgage, rental agreements, cars, the contents of the home, building society accounts, bank accounts, savings, pensions , maintenance and child support. Finance also includes all income and expenditure. This list is not exhaustive.
How does it work?
When considering Relationship Property/Finance issues the mediator will help you to;
Why do I need to do this?
How long will it take?
Usually it takes between two and four family mediation meetings. There may be some time in between meetings as you may be asked to complete questionnaires and obtain supporting documentation. This will dictate the pace forward.
What happens at the end of Relationship Property/Finance Mediation?
The mediator will normally prepare an Open Financial Summary which sets out a summary of assets, liabilities, income and expenditure, and separately a legally privileged Memorandum of Understanding; this is a document setting out your situation and proposals and may be shown to a Lawyer to obtain independent legal advice. If you wish, it is possible to have this document implemented as a legally binding agreement which a lawyer can do for you.
All Issues Mediation
If you are experiencing the breakdown of a relationship and need to make decisions about your future finances and arrangements for children, one option is to seek the help of a qualified mediator to help you reach agreement on all these important matters.
Before the first mediation session together your mediator will talk to you and your partner/former partner separately about the kind of issues that you have and would like to discuss within mediation. Sometimes these are obvious and sometimes they will be matters that you had not thought about before.
What is all issues mediation?
Quite simply, All Issues mediation covers issues of relationship property/finance and matters relating to day to day care of children. Timothy has undertaken intensive, extensive and on-going training to deal with all of these issues.
How long will it take?
This kind of mediation will take longer than a children only mediation or a mediation relating only to relationship property/finance, simply because it seeks to deal with many more issues than the other types of mediation described above. All issues mediation normally requires between three and six meetings.
What happens at the end of the mediation?
The mediator will normally prepare a legally privileged Memorandum of Understanding, which is a document detailing your proposals relating to day to day care matters and relating to relationship property/finance matters, and this can be used by your lawyer to prepare a legally binding agreement for submission to the Family Court.
The Mediator will also prepares an Open Financial Summary which sets out a summary of assets, liabilities, income and expenditure.
Family Mediation is NOT