Janine Myburgh is a trained mediator with years of experience in the family law field.
There are generally two types of mediation:
Family mediation is defined as a process whereby one or two impartial mediators assist a couple or family members in their discussion with one another, in relation to any family disputes that may exist between them, with a view to the resolution of such issues on an informed, voluntary basis.
Divorce mediations is defined as a form of family mediation which relates specifically to any and all matrimonial issues, including separation and divorce matters, questions concerning children, and issues relating to property and finance.
The understanding is that as a lawyer-mediator, the mediator does not advise as a lawyer, and that mediation is not a substitute for each participant obtaining independent legal advice when necessary; and before any agreement is entered into, both participants will be advised to take their mediation summary to his or her own independent lawyer.
There are a number of benefits involved in choosing to go the mediation rote. Divorce or separation usually involves a major crisis for a family. Arrangements for children, housing, financial and property matters all need to be decided upon. There may be a lot of anger between the parties as well as great distress.
Divorcing and separating couples often want to avoid contested court proceedings – which can escalate hostility and be prolonged and costly, both emotionally and financially – but in the strained circumstances it is often impossible for the couple to work things out on their own.
To overcome this situation, trained mediators work together with the couple, their role being to reduce conflict by helping the couple to consider the issues that need to be settled and the various options that may be available to them to facilitate reaching agreement. They help couples work towards financial settlements and focus on the needs of the children, encouraging parental cooperation wherever possible.
The mediation process is completely voluntary and all information is completely confidential. Any agreement and/or discussions which take place during mediation cannot be used as evidence in court unless the joint consent of both parties has been obtained. The mediation is able to be terminated at any stage if any participant feels that mediation is inappropriate or that no further progress can be made.