Historically, it is not clear geographically where family mediation first evolved. However, family mediation has been present in various forms in various cultures world-wide for thousands of years.
The system is focused on providing a dispute resolution mechanism to families who are in dispute. Divorce mediation forms part of the family mediation tree of services.
Modern day family mediation is divided into two main fields namely mediation and comediation. In the former of the two fields a single mediator works with the family in dispute. In the latter of the two fields, two or more mediators work with a family in dispute.
Mediations are completed by the use of either joint or single caucuses. In single caucuses the mediator/s caucus one party at a time. In joint caucuses the mediator/s work with all sides to the dispute present in the same session. The majority of family disputes have two sides however in family disputes between siblings it is not uncommon for several parties to be involved.
The family mediation process
Family mediation is based on the same principles that apply in mediation generally;-
- Mutual Respect
Family mediation is non-confrontational in nature and progressive. It encourages parties to focus on the future and problem solving strategies rather than the problems of the past. The process is also "child centered" whereby the parties are encouraged to make special provision for the needs of children where the subject parties of such mediations have childcare related issues.
Family mediation worldwide
Family mediation has evolved in both a public and private capacity worldwide in a number of countries. Vibrant organizations exist in the United States, The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Canada.
In some jurisdictions the state or government fund or financially assist family mediation services.