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Divorce Mediation is a process where the spouses attempt to settle all issues between them with the assistance of an independent trained person.
The Mediator will work with both spouses and try to narrow down the issues between the parties, until all issues are resolved.
Whatever is discussed during the mediation process is done on a without prejudice basis. This means that whatever is discussed cannot be used against the parties during the litigation process.
Mediation must always be encouraged.
In practice, we often find that the relationship between parties is so toxic that there is no chance that Mediation will work.
Cases are therefore evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
In my experience, Mediation can be incredibly beneficial if both parties are committed to the mediation process.
Settlement meetings usually are discussions between the parties and their respective attorneys. In some instances, the clients will be in separate rooms.
Most divorces are settled via “roundtable meetings”. A roundtable meeting refers to a without prejudice meeting to try and settle the divorce.
These meetings can be held before the divorce summons is issued, or at any time before trial. Many settlement meetings are held on the court steps on the day of trial.
What is interesting is the fact that 95 % of all divorces become settled.
Once a matter becomes settled, the divorce becomes uncontested and is normally moved to the unopposed court roll for finalisation.