SADSA’s co-mediation for unopposed divorces, involves the appointment of two mediators: a mediator with a mental health background and a mediator with a legal background.
The two mediators work together as a team, to assist the parties in resolving all of their disputes upon separation or divorce.
The mental health mediator focus on the mental, emotional and psychological wellbeing of both parties and the best interests of any minor children, while the parties are conducting their negotiations.
The legal mediator, facilitate and guide the parties, to ensure that all of their negotiations and possible solutions found during the mediation process are within the ambit of the law.
The cornerstone of unopposed divorce co-mediation, is that both parties should come to the table with a willingness to settle their divorce on an unopposed basis and without resorting to litigation. Both parties should also make a full and frank disclosure of all their financials.
Should any settlement stem from the mediation sessions held, the settlement may be recorded into a written legal divorce agreement (known as a Consent Paper as well as a Parenting Plan, if applicable). These agreement/s, compiled by the legal mediator, are known as ‘mediated legal agreements’ and should pass through the Office of the Family Advocate and the Court easily, once finalised. The parties therefore need not take their mediation summaries of each session to an Attorney, which Attorney should still transform these summaries into legal agreement/s.
In this manner, divorce co-mediation is able to provide broader guidance to the parties, accelerate the process of an unopposed divorce and assist to keep legal costs down, by being less time consuming.
It must however be noted that the legal mediator does not in any way act as the legal represenative of either party during the mediation process.
Both parties reserve their right and are advised to approach an Attorney should they require independant legal advice on the content of the agreement/s, before they sign same. Once the mediation process is finalised and the agreement/s are completed, the Plaintiff (the one claiming for divorce) appoints an Attorney to move the divorce and the mediated agreements through the Court on an unopposed basis.
The recommended time span required to complete unopposed divorce co-mediation is 2 – 3 sessions of 2 hours each, depending on the nature and complexity of the matter.