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Mediation Options and Processes

Mediation Session Can be done onsite in person or Online via Video Conferencing 

“An ounce of mediation is worth a pound of arbitration and a ton of litigation!” — Joseph Grynbaum

“One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears — by listening to them.” — Dean Rusk

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What is Mediation and Why is Mediation recommended ?

Are you stuck in a relationship that is just not working out, or you keep budding heads with your partner and hardly agree on most things?

You find yourself working late to avoid going home or avoid the long awaited issues that need to be sorted out, but you just don’t have the energy for it. 

Most of the time, life gets so busy you totally forget how to communicate with your spouse and speak a totally different language. Certain behaviour patterns you cannot tolerate any more. Your relationship is just not in the best interest of the children. You have nothing left to give and seek the options of separation and/or divorce. 

When it comes to the end of a long term relationship and the decision is to seek separation and /or divorce, Mediation as a first step is recommended by the High Courts. Mediation is less expensive for both parties involved than spending thousands of rands in legal fees where you can just get together with someone skilled and neutral to sort through the issues regarding divorce and life after divorce.

Divorce can be daunting, even scary at times, and most of us are not prepared for or expected this turn of events. 

Separating from your partner is never easy and the people that are most affected are the children regardless of age. Mediators are skilled to hear both concerns of the participants, and help you speak the same “language”, assist you to come to solutions to move things forward.

Here at MEJ Mediation, we try to make the transition as painless and swift as possible. 

A mediator helps navigate difficult conversations, conflicts, and communication. Using skills, training, and knowledge to assist finding a path to an agreement to the satisfaction of both parties involved. 

Mediators take into account the emotional and financial aspects as well as the following : 

  1. Causes of the relationship breakdown

  2. Dynamics of the conflict 

  3. Positions of the parties 

  4. Interests of the parties 

  5. Best interest of the children 

 

 A mediator is not a judge and does not make decisions, the mediator’s position is neutral. 

 

Settlements are negotiated out of court and no legal representation is required, but it is at the discretion of the parties if they wish. 

MEJ Mediation has the assistance of a panel of legal representatives and advisors in the relevant fields if any queries arise regarding Family and Children beyond the knowledge of the mediator.  

The duration of the process is up to the participants. If both parties are willing to give 100% towards reaching agreements and participate in all areas of the mediation sessions, including the “Homework” given in each session. Mediation is the most affordable and effective option. 

The process can be done at any time and is strictly confidential, no offer or counter offer or information shared in caucuses can be disclosed in court. 

Mediation cannot be used to gain personal information of the other party to use against them in court if the case where to go to trial.

Intimidation is not an option in these Mediation sessions. One party cannot try to manipulate the mediator or the other party to get his or her own way. The process is in the best interest of the participants, especially the children, regardless of their age. 

 

The verity of agreements include but not limited to the following: 

Divorce settlement agreements 

  • This is the end goal that needs to be achieved. 

  • This agreement includes everything in involved Family matters. 

  • This Agreement’s content often includes references to other documents such as Parenting Plan, Maintenance order, splitting of assets and finalization of other aspects etc.

  • An FDF form is the first document that needs to be filled in. Please see the “Questionnaire and E-Books” tabs for the form and description. 

  • In order for the honourable Judge to grant this order, all aspect must be covered and defined clearly to avoid delay and unnecessary questions 

  • To make this process more cost-effective, there are questionnaires designed to formulate these agreements. Go to the tab “Questionnaire and E-Books” and follow the instructions. 



 

Parenting plans 

  • A Parenting Plan Agreement is exactly what it says. This is one of the most important documents when going through separation and divorce. Whether you have just decided to separate or have been separated for some time, parents need to put a parenting plan in place for their children.

 

Download our Free E-Book for more detailed description and procedures involved divorce procedures.

 

“Questionnaire and E-Books” 

 

Maintenance orders 

  • Maintenance orders are court orders that direct an individual to pay a regular fixed sum to another who shares child caregiving responsibilities according to the law and or to a spouse seeking maintenance for a period of time. 

  • Children Maintenance orders 

  • Spousal Maintenance orders 

  • Arrears Maintenance Order

 

Download our Free E-Book for more detailed description and procedures involved divorce procedures. 

 

“Questionnaire and E-Books”

Civil contract (Co-habitation Agreement)

  • What is cohabitation?

  • Cohabitation refers to when an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage.

  • Seeing as the couple is not married, cohabitation is not regulated by law and does not receive the same protection as a marriage.

  • There is no common law marriage in South Africa, and the duration that couples spend living together does not mean that a marriage came into existence.

 

Download our Free E-Book for more detailed description and procedures involved divorce procedures.

“Questionnaire and E-Books”

​Domestic Violence Interdicts 

  • What is domestic violence?

  • Domestic violence is where a person (“complainant”) is being harmed by another person (“respondent”) while they are in a domestic relationship.

  • A necessary evil of domestic violence interdict, is that these interdict require a reduced burden of proof. It's necessary because these people may need help very quickly, and going through a lengthily court trial is not going to provide them with the help they need. At the same time the evil part behind it, is that because there is a reduced burden of proof simply based on the seriousness of an allegation a domestic violence interdict can in fact be abused.  

  • Domestic Violence Interdicts in custody battles (at the time of divorce)


 

If at any time you personally need help with this as well as an exit strategy, please do hesitate to contact Michelle James, michelle@mejmediation.com in a strictly confidential way. It is suggested that if you were to contact me by email you are to delete your email after sending, so your safety is not jeopardise (Be sure to delete your emails from your “sent” folder as well as your “deleted”) I will keep a record of our communication in a passcode file that I can only access.  

The Bottom line :

  1. Mediation is a structured “discussion” to assist a negotiation to help solve issues before going to court. 

  2. The Aim of the mediator is to achieve formal agreements in collaboration with both the parties with best interests of the child/children in mind, 

  3. The process is more effective than litigation. 

  4. Resolution can be reached within weeks as opposed to years. 

  5. The savings in financial and emotional terms are unparalleled. 

In the tabs above, you will find a tab called ““Questionnaire and E-Books””. These Documents are very detailed questionnaires touching on all the aspects regarding Family Matters. Fill in the form provided below, and we will send the questionnaire of your choice, as well as the format you require. 

 

Please note that these documents should be kept confidential and not shared with anyone. 

Once you have completed the questionnaire, willing to take this journey, ask your spouse/ partner to do the same and contact Michelle James at +27 0793654417 or email michelle@mejmediaction.com, and we can start from there, or we can contact your spouse/partner.

 

The Documents include :

  1. General Divorce Questionnaire 

  2. Considering Divorce Questionnaire 

  3. Parenting plan Questionnaire 

  4. Financial Disclosure Forms 

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How the Mediation process works

At MEJ Mediation, we follow three different types of medications. The choice of a model depends on the discretionary power and consent of the parties involved. 

However, the process and duration of mediations are dependent on the participants. If both parties are willing to contribute 100% towards reaching agreements and participate in all areas of the mediation sessions, including the “Homework” given in each session. 

Typically, sessions are held every two weeks, to allow time for the Homework to be completed, then the mediation can move forward and swiftly.  

Below you will find the 3 different models we utilize. 

Standard Model :

The standard template generally begins with a joint session, where we present ourselves and the issues that need to be resolved. And come up with a plan moving forward. Assignments will be assigned as appropriate.

The next session may or may not be done in separate caucuses, where each party will meet with the mediator separately to develop for the next mediation session, this is at the discretion of the mediator. Sessions are scheduled every two weeks, giving each party time to complete the task assigned to each session. 

A joint session will be held during which we will discuss progress and what will follow. 

The number of sessions varies with the complexity of the case, each session lasts 1h30min. 

PDM Model(Party Direct Mediation)

The Party Direct model starts with meeting each Party separately (this may take a few sessions before the join session can take place.)

Only once they are at the point both parties are ready for the joint session, then we book a joint session 

In the joint session the issues are discussed and may reach agreements on issues, it is under the discretion of the Mediator if further joint or separate sessions need to be booked if the parties still don’t agree.  

LEADR Model

For more information, click on the ‘Questionnaire and eBooks' tab and follow the instructions to download the eBook of your choice. 

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Image by Erriko Boccia
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Image by Glen Carrie
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Online Workshop
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Online Mediation

What is online mediation, what do you need , how does it work and What are the benefits ?

Online mediation video conferencing in the comfort and convenience of your own place of safety. This can be done in your home with no interruptions, or in your office. No travelling, traffic or the odd stop ’n go section making a 10-min drive turn into an hour. 

 

Online mediation affords parties much greater flexibility in terms of meeting location. … Another key point is that online mediation removes the physicality associated with in person mediation. Heightened emotions, mistrust, and even fear can lead to stress and anxiety in face to face situations.

Online Mediation is ideal when it comes to the case where each party is situated in a different province or country, as well as if there is any case of physical abuse or extreme heightened emotions.  

Online mediation cannot be done sitting in your local pub or favorite coffee shop. Even though the sessions are online, the respect of confidentiality still applies as if you were physically sitting in the mediator’s office. 

We use platforms such as Zoom, Google Meets and Microsoft Teams, simple to download and use on your smart mobile device or computer at home (as long as there is a camera and an internet connection, and Extreme privacy.) A Laptop with a camera come highly recommended.  

The sessions are private and confidential (as they all are) 

I personally prefer using Zoom as this platform has all the features of running a physical practice except its online and only costs you your internet connection.

Sometimes when a mediation comes up, one of the parties involved are not in the same province or country because of work etc. Waiting for the person to finally come back from overseas or from other provinces can be time-consuming and could probably make the conflict worsen because these are delayed for  3 months at a time depending on the other parties' schedules.  The level of conflict can be so high it can get to the point of someone being physically attacked during a session. Online mediation will prevent that from happening in the session. 

 

Online Mediation is a more cost-effective way of mediating.

 

The Bottom line:

 

  1. Online mediation video conferencing in the comfort and convenience of your own place of safety.

  2. Online mediation removes the physicality associated with in person mediation. Heightened emotions, mistrust, and even fear can lead to stress and anxiety in face to face situations.

  3. Online Mediation is ideal when it comes to the case where each party is situated in a different province or country.

  4. We use platforms such as Zoom.

  5. All you need is a smart mobile device or computer at home (as long as there is a camera and an internet connection, and Extreme privacy.) A Laptop with a camera come highly recommended.  

  6. The sessions are private and confidential (as they all are)

  7. No travelling, traffic or the odd stop’n go section making a 10-min drive turn into an hour.

  8. Online Mediation is a more cost-effective way of mediating.​

If you would like to know more, Click on the Tab “Questionnaire and E-Books' and follow the instructions to download the e-book of your choice. 

Get in Touch

Divorce & Conflict Coach

Questionnaires & Ebook