Mediation for Families in 4 Steps

Mediation for Families in Four Steps

When a parent contacts Rosalin for mediation of a children’s matters, she approaches the process as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner accredited by the Federal Attorney General’s Department; a neutral, child focused practitioner working to help both parents explore the best interests of their children and make a Parenting Plan.

FDRPs must meet with each parent separately and assess whether mediation is appropriate and, if so, how to provide the best possible conditions for negotiation.  Those initial meetings are confidential and the practitioner must then inform the parents if mediation seems appropriate and find a place and time when some hours is available for a joint meeting.

Shuttle Mediation

Sometimes, meetings take place with one parent by phone and sometimes the parents sit in separate rooms and might be accompanied by a solicitor or support person, with the knowledge and consent of the other parent. That may seem time consuming but at times it is best, so that parents can remain thoughtful and creative, rather than being triggered into distress patterns that might get in the way.  Of course, often parents can sit in the same room and negotiate and develop their ideas.

Section 60i Certificates

When Rosalin has completed the initial interviews, she may conclude that mediation is not appropriate at that time.  In this case, she issues Certificates to the parents under Section 60i of the Act.

When mediation is completed or adjourned because a full Parenting Plan cannot be agreed upon, the FDRP is also required to issue a Certificate 60i to each parent.

Once a Certificate is issued, each parent has evidence that mediation has been attempted. That might assist in making an application to a Court for a judgment, if one or other parent wants that.  Mediation can always be resumed, any time it is appropriate to do so, even when a Certificate has already been issued in the past.  60i Certificates are current for a year.

For detailed information about FDRP responsibilities and 60i Certificates, visit the Family Law Website.

If you want to keep your decision making about your children in the private arena:

Step 1

Decide whether Family Mediation is a good fit for your family situation.  In an introductory session, Rosalin can help you assess which is the best path to take in helping you and the other parent reach agreements that are in the best interests of your children.

Family mediation is not appropriate in all circumstances.  For instance, if one parent is afraid of the other, they may not feel confident enough to negotiate for what they believe will best serve the family.  If they try to negotiate from a fearful or anxious position, they may feel pressured or coerced into making agreements that they don’t really support.  If that describes your situation, it might be better to use a different process.

Some situations in which mediation may not be the best option include:

  • One parent is not able to speak up for his or her true thoughts and feelings.
  • One or other parent is not yet ready to negotiate.
  • There are underlying problems such as mental illness or alcohol/drug abuse.

Mediation is not about the past.  It has a strong future focus and is centred primarily on the best interests of children.  Rosalin will help you keep that focus.

Step 2

Decide what you need to discuss and what’s most important.  The content is for you to decide.  Rosalin can help each of you to identify your needs and objectives.  She will help you to communicate in constructive language and to listen without interrupting or derailing the future focus of the negotiations.  Her primary responsibility is to keep the communication process on track, so it is important to follow her suggestions about how to negotiate.

Step 3

Discuss options and negotiate.  Rosalin will help you to ensure that every issue is addressed in turn and that you don’t leave anything out.  Each of you will have the same opportunities to explore the issues and put options on the table for discussion.  It’s up to you as parents to pick the best options for the outcomes you want for your children.  Anything that you both agree to discuss can be on the agenda but mediators do not try to force people to discuss issues that they are not willing or ready to address.  It is voluntary.

Rosalin will assist in reality testing each option and finding common ground between you.

Step 4

You identify the best solutions from among the options you have put on the table.

You decide how long you are going to test the arrangement you have made and whether you need to meet again to fine tune or re-negotiate.

You decide whether to make your agreements legally binding.  You can ask a lawyer to write up your agreements in the form of an application for Consent Orders, or Rosalin can write up a Parenting Plan for you based on your decisions, and explain to you the difference between a Parenting Plan and Consent Orders.

Any private agreement made through mediation about child support can be registered with the Child Support Agency.


Rosalin can be contacted on 0424 002 640.


Psychology, Counselling & Mediation Sunshine Coast Ph 0424 002 640

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Rosalin Primrose

MA , Reg Psych, (FDRP)
  • Medicare Provider No: 4197097T
  • Counselling Psychology Reg No: PSY 0000976237
  • Nationally Accredited Mediator & Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP)
‘Ocean Central’
Suite 18, Level 4
2 Ocean Street

Weekend & telephone appointments available by request

Ph: 0424 002 640

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