To help you make the best use of the hours available to you through Fair Way’s Family Dispute Resolution (FDR), your mediator may suggest the following steps to get ready for your joint mediation meeting.
Here are some things you can do before mediation to get the most from the experience
Issues and options to consider ahead of mediation
It’s good to think through what you want to discuss during mediation, and what options might work for your children’s needs.
Before coming to mediation, we encourage you to consider the following:
- Think about how you would like the childcare arrangements to work, considering what’s best for the children and when the other people involved will get to see them.
- Use the parenting plan information available on the Ministry of Justice website to start thinking about the types of arrangements you need to make.
- Think about the activities your children are involved in, and what practical arrangements are needed so they can keep doing them. Also think about school holidays, birthdays and other special occasions.
- Think about your children’s need for relationships with extended family and friends, and how they can be accommodated.
- Check with WINZ/IRD to see if any child support entitlements you have could be affected by new parenting arrangements.
- Think about what support you need to be the best parent you can be – you are also very important in this process.
How ‘preparation for mediation’ coaching helps
When people come to mediation it’s often because communication has broken down. To help you communicate better through your mediation, and get the most from your meetings, your mediator may recommend arranging preparation for mediation coaching.
These sessions are a mixture of support work and coaching, an experienced mediator – who also practises as a counsellor – holds these sessions. They are an opportunity to upskill and think about how our communication styles, behaviour and emotions impact us.
The sessions are 60 to 90 minutes long and are often held online. People generally find their mediation sessions to be more conversational, and that they are better able to reach agreement, because of this learning experience.
There’s no extra cost for preparation for mediation coaching session – their time is included in the 12 hours of FDR services available over a 12-month period.
Consider involving children and their views in mediation
Children are always at the heart of Fair Way’s FDR process.
At your first meeting with your mediator, they will talk with you about how your children’s views can be considered in the mediation. There are a range of different ways their views can be included.
The options include:
- the parents speaking for the children and having a child-focused mediation
- a trusted family member sharing their thoughts
- a trusted friend meeting with the children and bringing their voices to the mediation
- involving a Voice of Child specialist
We strongly believe in the value of this process for families, and most importantly for children. At Fair Way, we are dedicated to supporting the whole family through this process – not just the parents.
What the Voice of Child specialist does
A Voice of Child specialist speaks to the children involved and brings their views and thoughts to the sessions. However, they do not advocate for them or express their professional opinion on the child’s views or interests.
We have a list of approved Voice of Child specialists. They’re approved on the basis that they have the required skills and experience to meet with a child and hear what they have to say. They then share what the child wants their parents or guardians to hear when considering the care arrangements or guardianship decisions that affect them.
There’s no extra cost for a Voice of Child specialist – their time is included in the 12 hours of FDR services available over a 12-month period.
How mediation works
Mediation is a process that enables all parties involved to talk in a confidential and safe environment. Find out more about the mediation itself.