ARE MEDIATIONS USEFUL IN HELPING ME RESOLVE MY CASE?
WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is a method of non-compulsory dispute resolution involving a neutral third party (a mediator) who tries to help the disputing parties with a view to facilitate a resolution of the whole or part of a dispute.
Mediation aims to:
- Identify the issues in dispute.
- Explore and generate options and solutions.
- Allow parties to communicate freely with each other.
- Helps the parties to voluntarily reach an agreement.
In family disputes such as divorce, child custody arrangements, maintenance, division of assets, care of mentally incapacitated persons or distribution of a deceased’s assets, mediation serves to help resolve family disputes in a less acrimonious way.
This is because when such disputes are brought to the Court, they can be a very expensive, traumatic and miserable experience for the parties involved. Often, the judgment by the Court does not ultimately resolve the relational aspects of the dispute.
Mediation sessions are conducted in English. A translator can be provided by the Family Justice Courts for translation in Mandarin, Malay or Tamil.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION?
- Unlike Court proceedings, mediation is a non-adversarial and non-confrontational process. It allows the parties involved to avoid the emotional trauma and stress of undergoing a contested hearing in Court.
- It assists parties in finding a practical and acceptable solution by taking into account the parties respective concerns and objectives without deciding who is right or wrong. Parties will likely be happier with terms that they have agreed upon themselves as there are no “winners” or “losers” in a mediation.
- Parties may have more flexibility to make certain arrangements that may not be possible in court as a Judge may not be aware of certain practical consequences that parties might face.
- Mediation sessions are confidential and conducted on a without prejudice basis. All communications made in the course of mediation will be treated in strict confidence and will not be admissible in any court unless otherwise stipulated by law.
- Resolving a dispute at mediation is generally less expensive and faster than if a matter proceeds to trial.
WHAT IS THE MEDIATION PROCESS LIKE?
At the start of the mediation, the solicitors of the respective parties will introduce the parties and set out the background of the matter to the mediator. The mediator will ascertain from each party their views and positions on the dispute.
The mediator then summarises the issues and the respective positions of each party. Parties are then given a chance to confirm or dispute the mediator’s summary. The mediator will try to de-escalate any tension so that meaningful progress can be made in the mediation.
The mediator will proceed to facilitate the negotiation process between the parties. This is done by explaining and pointing out any impracticalities of the proposals and any exaggerated or impossible positions of the parties.
In certain cases, the mediator will give an indicative assessment of the case as well.
Any consensus reached during the process can be recorded as a draft agreement wherein if an agreement can be reached between parties, the terms of the agreement will be recorded before the mediator who may sit as a Judge as a consent order and become binding to both parties.
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