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Our courts are in favour of parties mediating on issues in dispute - the Divorce Court in Johannesburg sends parties to The Family Life Centre's Staff member who is present in that court twice a week to reach agreement on outstanding issues. In terms of the Children's Act, it is compulsary for unmarried parents to mediate in the event there is a dispute regarding whether or not an unmarried father fulfills the requirements under the Children's Act to hold automatic responsibilities and rights.
It is anticipated that in future legislation, it will become mandatory for all parties with children to mediate a Parenting Plan.
Family Life Centre is a founding member of the South African National Council of Mediators which will be the umbrella mediation body to which all practicing mediators country-wide will be required to hold membership. This is an exciting development as this profession is not currently regulated by any body. A national organisation will provide protection to the general public.
Family Life Centre is thus at the forefront of mediation in South Africa and offers a comprehensive training to prospective mediators from the legal and helping professions. The training is a 50-hour training and covers all aspects relating to family mediation, specifically for parties divorcing, separating or in post-divorce/separation issues. Modules include the psychological effects of divorce on adults and children, financial matters, legal issues, cultural differences related to marriage and divorce, and role-plays. The training equips members of the legal and helping professions to offer mediation services in their practices. The mediation department at Family Life offers mediation services to the public - volunteers who have completed a mediation training offer their services to Family Life. There are always two mediators involved for each mediation - one mediator is an attorney, advocate or non-practicing attorney and the other is a counsellor, psychologist, minister, social worker or lay counsellor. This ensures a holistic approach to the issues parties are facing. Parties receive information regarding their legal rights and responsibilities as well as information about what is age-appropriate for children, etc. In terms of the Children's Act, parents are required to take into account children's views and wishes when making decisions about care and contact arrangements, while mediators are to ensure that this occurs.
To read more about any of our Mediation Programmes, please follow the links below
- Divorce Mediation (*.pdf)
- How to get a divorce in the High Court or Family Court (*.pdf)
- What parents need to know about children and divorce (*.pdf)
- Maintenance (*.pdf)