What happens in a situation where divorce is imminent, but it does not fall squarely within the contested or uncontested categories? The individuals involved do not agree on all aspects of the divorce but want to avoid engaging the adversarial system. What are the options available, and how can the remaining disagreements be resolved in order to accelerate the divorce proceedings? The simple answer is: divorce mediation. This is particularly applicable and advisable in separations and divorces where there are children or dependents to be considered and an expeditious process is preferable.
Divorce mediation entails a series of structured meetings and discussions with an impartial third party such as a lawyer, social worker, psychologist or a qualified mediator for the purposes of coming up with an agreement that suits both parties involved. It is the mediator’s and or divorce mediation attorneys job to assist both parties in designing an acceptable arrangement that is practical and achievable for all. The mediator is also responsible for presenting their clients’ with the various options at their disposal, which includes other alternatives should the individuals not want to pursue the mediation route any further.
Divorce mediation is completely confidential and voluntary, and therefore can be terminated by any of the parties involved at any time. This also means that matters discussed during the mediation sessions cannot be used as evidence in court at a later stage. Mediation is constructive in that it provides an open platform for both parties to voice their concerns, and with the guidance and support of the mediator, work together and negotiate with one another in order to avoid further grievances caused by the impending divorce. Mediation is a more affordable and efficient process in comparison to a contested divorce which utilises the adversarial system. Through divorce mediation, a consensus can be reached in a matter of sessions, not years.
While a mediator may not always be an attorney, they will still be responsible for drafting an agreement at the end of the mediation process to be signed by both parties. If the individuals involved have children to consider, then another function of the mediator, particularly a family law mediator, social worker, or psychologist, is to help draft a parenting plan. A parenting plan is a necessity for establishing a post-divorce routine and helps ensure the longevity and sustainability of a co-parenting relationship that is beneficial for the children moving forward.
Initial consultations are charged at R1500.00. Thereafter, should you wish for us to act on your behalf, a fee is discussed and agreed upon whereafter we can move forward with your matter. We promise to get back to you as soon as possible – as we are aware that these cases are often urgent.