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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)
Sam on what brought her to us
I subscribe to the mantra that "What is meant to be will be ... Que sera sera" and it rings true in my life time and time again. What I don't remember really deriving some sort of benefit from however, is being stuck in traffic especially after a long hard day at work!
How does this all come together you might be wondering ... I'll tell you!
I'm an Attorney by profession admitted to practice law in South Africa (Western and Northern Provinces) as well as in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. My passion has always been empowering women, hrough my legal training I am do this by the law. I have in the past worked for several non-profit organisations including:
- The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) under their Southern Africa Counter Human Trafficking.
- Educational Support Services Trust (ESST)
- Several other issues such as womens' reproductive health, teaching French and English to young ladies and holding the portfolio of Law and Human Rights in the Board for EDCOSA (Education Coalition of South Africa).
Searching for a way as a legal practitioner to become involved with human rights issues, I came across a wonderful programme and opportunity run by the Vodacom Foundation known as 'Change the World'. This was perfect for me, it harnessed both my skill and passion while making a difference and helping to literally change the world we live in.
The basic model is that it seeks to link a well deserving NGO with a skill they need and Vodacom would then provide the ever needed funding to facilitate the relationship and support any projects that might come out of it!
On the final day of submission while sitting in Johannesburg traffic I had not found an organization I connected with. I looked up at a billboard which changed my life forever! The poster was that of the Family Life Centre. I believe in the work that the Organisation does and I believe in the underlying principle that behind a broken society is a broken individual who likely comes from a broken family. I reached out to them and well, the rest is history.
FLC works on family preservation, counselling and training including the provision of legal information and mediation services. The people I have met so far at FLC who are passionate, dedicated and so genuine about changing peoples' lives humble me daily and inspire me to do so much more.
It's an amazing, challenging and slightly scary journey so far as I would like to leave a legacy of sorts and make an actual difference and impact to FLC, the communities around us, Vodacom as well as myself! And that will not happen overnight - however no great task was ever accomplished overnight nor could ever be accomplished by one set of hands and I am very confident that our efforts collectively as FLC, Vodacom and myself will breed results that are far beyond our expectations!
And so I fold up my sleeves, get to work, pray to God for help every single day and then with joy and peace sing gladly ... "Que sera sera ... whatever will be will be"