Family dispute resolution – a mediation process

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The festive season is just around the corner. Sadly, at this time of year, some families are more concerned about whether or not they will be spending time with their children than they are about gift lists and turkey.

For parents who are struggling to reach agreement on matters relating to their children – whether Christmas contact or school holiday related, or even where their children will be going to school – the best option to work towards a resolution may well be family dispute resolution (FDR). FDR is a mediation process which helps parents work towards agreement or compromise by discussing their issues with a trained family mediator.

New Zealand’s largest specialist conflict management and dispute resolution service provider is Fairway Resolution. The process of engaging with Fairway is usually as follows:

  • When a parent contacts Fairway, they will be assigned a coordinator, who will listen to the issue/s at hand.
  • The coordinator will reach out to the other party concerned to seek their agreement to engage with the FDR process.
  • Both parents will then prepare separately for the mediation process. They will both be given assistance with various skills (such as communication) to give them the best chance of a successful outcome for all.
  • When both parties are ready for mediation, they are assigned a mediator who will liaise with each parent individually to confirm the details of the meeting.
  • The mediator will also confirm if parents would like a “voice for the child” specialist to be involved. A voice for the child specialist’s role is to meet with the child/ren, ascertain their views, and report back. This can be a valuable resource to independently obtain the child/ren’s perspective on their experience and preferences.
  • After mediation, assuming an eventual agreement, the mediator will assist the parents in formalising this in writing.

Although the process can appear involved, Fairway is well equipped to handle urgent matters quickly – in some cases, even by holding a mediation the same day an initial contact is made. Fairway has also been able to adapt to the 2020 climate. If distance, lockdown alert levels, or health status make an in-person mediation impractical or impossible, mediations can be held via audio-video link.

Family dispute resolution is a fantastic tool to assist parents with issues they cannot resolve themselves. For further information on family dispute resolution please do not hesitate to contact us.  You can also visit www.fairwayresolution.com for more information on the mediation process.

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