Saturday, April 02, 2011

Divorcing couples have to be assessed for mediation from Wednesday

From next Wednesday couples who wish to issues a Court application for settlement of their financial issues or issues concerning their children will have to go for a mediation assessment - unless they fulfill the exception criteria - such as domestic violence,  or no mediator available (unlikely I think virtually everyone I meet is a mediator these days).

Here's the thing:

Court does not make couples acrimonious.  It is not a chicken and egg situation.  The acrimony was there first.

Not all mediators are experienced or any good at what they do.

Not all mediators are legally qualified - at least 25% are counsellors or such like.

Some mediators have a very poor understanding of the law and although they are not allowed to give legal advice make blanket statements such as:

Contributions will be ignored

It is always 50/50

Some mediators tell the couple that they can get legal advice but do not advise them to do so.

I know some very good mediators ( I count myself as one) but I also know some poor ones and I am concerned that in this recession more people are training as mediators as a way to make money.

I work in family law because the subject consumes me - you need to find a mediator who does it as their passion - not because it's easier to train as a mediator than as a teacher.  I know I have said this before but beware the out of work HIP providers.  There is a bonanza of training options out there for vulnerable people...

My advice...

Always ask for the individual Mediator's CV and first question you ask them at the intake session  "What made you decide to be a mediator?"

1 comment:

ken said...

In NZ court appointed mediators are usually used in an official court mediation session. They can be ok however I've seen cases where when the session appears to be going nowhere they then apply unfair pressure and manipulation. In one case I was sure it was in order that the mediator was more anxious in claiming a 'notch on his belt' rather than a fair and last resolution.