Mediation is a co-operative process whereby the disputing parties attempt to reach a mutually acceptable agreement or settlement or at least to reduce conflict. A mediator (third party) participates in the discussions, assists the parties and act as a facilitator. The outcome is determined by the parties, not by the mediator.

Goals of Mediation
  • To reduce, resolve or manage conflict
  • To make appropriate decisions to deal effectively with conflict
  • To provide a plan that serves the best interest of the child-parenting plan
The role of the mediator
  • The role of the mediator is to manage the negotiations in an impartial manner.
  • Mediators do not offer advice, whether legal or psychological, and do not represent either party in any way.
  • The mediator should also not have had any previous dealings with either party, whether professional or social.
  • Aim to provide an environment where emotions frequently experienced by divorcing couples, such as anger, hurt, desperation and fear, can be contained by focusing on what needs to be resolved rather than exploring the reasons for the break-up of the marriage.
  • It is sometimes appropriate for a couple contemplating divorce or separation, to seek psychological or therapeutic assistance to deal with the psychological aspects of divorce or separation while at the same time entering into mediation.
Parenting plans and the Law

A parenting plan according to Section 33 (1) of the Children’s Act states that a parenting plan must be in writing and signed by the parties to the agreement; and may be registered with a family advocate or made an order of court. If the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child are experiencing difficulties in exercising their responsibilities, those persons must first seek to agree on a parenting plan (Section 33 (2) - Child care act).

Mediation will work for you if:
  • you and your partner agree that you can negotiate in a fair and equitable manner;
  • children are involved and you would like to draft a parenting plan;
  • you wish to save money in terms of a contested divorce; and/or
  • you want your differences to be resolved as soon as possible.
Parenting plans include among other things:


  • Day-to-day communication with/about the children
  • Emergencies - who to contact
  • Educational decisions
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Religion
  • Medical - day-to-day
  • Schools
  • Grandparents and extended family
  • Residency plan
  • Swapping and exchanging times
  • Holidays
  • Consent to leave the country
  • Consent to apply for a passport
  • Special days - Mother’s day and Father’s Day
  • Birthdays - parents and children
  • Public and religious holidays
  • Maintenance
  • Extra costs for school/medical
  • New life partners/marital partners
  • Death of one or both of the parties
  • Procedure to be followed if there is a material change in circumstances
  • Change of address

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