InterMEDIATE Dispute Management Pty Ltd is proud to announce that after scrupulous examination of our Family Dispute Resolution services, our organisation is now the ONLY private organisation in Australia, to be formally recognised and nominated to the Federal Attorney General's Family Relationships Online website and Advice Line for Family Dispute Resolution provision.
NO WAITING LIST POLICY.
PRIVATE SERVICE. Available during and after hours, 7 days a week. Australia wide and beyond.
If you have not yet organised your parenting plan call us - we are happy to offer our exceptional service to you, so your family can have a very merry Christmas after all.
Putting the needs of children first and considering their developmental requirements helps parents to work co-operatively and craft robust Parenting Plans and agreements that they can live with.
Dispute Resolution Practitioners are bound by law to assist parents to work in the best interests of the child are maintained in Family Dispute Resolution. This includes advocating on the side of the child/ren when necessary. When parents are not speaking or acting in a way that is in their child's best interests, we will attend to that, and encourage the parents to become more co-operative and child focused.Parental atunement is important in intact families. What may seem surprising at first, is that it is even more important in separated families, to ensure that children grow up knowing they are loved and cared for, valued and respected by both parents. To do this we help parents to put aside their own arguments to focus on their children's needs.
PARENTING PLANS crafted by the parents, with the skillful assistance of Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners empower separated parents to take responsibility for the important decisions about caring for their children. Parenting plans allow parents to consider the developmental stages, needs and interests of their children when planning time spent with each parent and extended family during school terms, weekdays, weekends, holidays and other special days. Parenting plans can include agreements on child maintenance payments, special needs, family values, effective communication, parenting styles, blending families, step-families, new partners and any issues that matter to the parents and children. Parenting plans can remain flexible, allowing Parenting Plans to be reviewed to accomodate changes in parents' situations or children's needs.
As long as Family Dispute Resolution is appropriate i.e. when there are no concerns about family violence or other safety factors, Family Dispute Resolution provides a safe environment to discuss and agree on all parenting issues including potentially contentious issues such as changing children's names, residency, school or other living arrangements.
InteMEDIATE Dispute Management assists conflicted parents to establish agreements that address each child's developmental needs, whilst maintaining good quality relationships with both parents, where possible.
Most parents recognise and honour a child's right to the love and care of two responsible parents. We understand that for some separated parents who are embroiled in their own conflict, this can be extremely difficult. We offer assistance to those who experience such problems through a process of building of parental atunement and refer to counsellors when negative emotions become too difficult or helpful courses for separated parents which are available locally.
Parenting plans are legally recognised and may be made legally enforceable by registering them through the court, to become Parenting Orders by consent.
Do not wait. Early intervention of disputes is always recommended, as separated parents are better able to consider the best interests of their children, when disputes have not been allowed to escalate to a level where they become bitter, entrenched and therefore more difficult to resolve.
For urgent mediation cases, and urgent Family Dispute Resolution services - such as when parents plan to travel, one of our team of Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners will be available Australia wide, to assist at short notice.
InterMEDIATE Dispute Management help parents to craft a formal parenting plan which is recognised under the Family Law Act. A parenting plan is an agreement dated and signed by both parents, that is made free from any threat, duress or coercion, and is in the best interests of the children. It covers day to day responsibilities of each parent, the practical considerations of the child's daily life, as well as how parents will agree and consult on important, short and long-term needs. The developmentally appropriate Parenting Plan can be worked out and agreed jointly at mediation - now known as Family Dispute Resolution. This means that separating parents do not need to cause further harm to their relationship or long term damage to their children, by fighting protracted battles in court.
Avoid court battles. Going to court means parents handing over their power and responsibility as parents to someone else - a stranger who does not know them, or their children. Parents may believe that they are seeking justice in court, but court is not about justice or fairness. Court is about applying the letter of the law and handing down legally enforceable Parenting Orders and decisions that may not suit either parent or their children. Costly and protracted court battles are highly stressful and very likely to further embitter parents, destroying any remaining threads of a relationship, which are required to effectively and cooperatively parent children.
You may choose to have your mediated parenting agreement, financial or property settlement made legally enforceable, by applying to the court to have it made into a consent order. This is a simple and standard practice that does not involve any adverarial process.
Child Custody is an outdated term that is no longer in use in the Australian Family Law System. Child custody is seen as an antiquated and adversarial term that may suggest that one parent has possession and power over a child. The term Child Custody also envisions children in hand cuffs. The law recognises the needs of children to have two parents who are equally responsible for the decisions and the care of their children. Children have the right to two parents who love and care for them. Under the Shared Care Parental Responsibilty Act 2006 "Who the children will live with" and "Who the children will spend time with" are the new terms which replace the antiquated "child custody" battle.
s60i Certificates. In any family dispute involving children, if parties cannot agree in Family Dispute Resolution, our Accredited Family Dispute Resolution practitioners may issue 60i Certificates required by the courts as testament to the parties' genuine attempt at family dispute resolution. Judges and magistrates may order court costs to be paid by a party who does not make a genuine attempt at family dispute resolution and/or order the couple to further attempt family dispute resolution.
"Australia is at the forefront of family mediation practice - we are innovators. It is time to review our practice to provide opportunities for children to be included in family mediation in safe, structured and supportive ways that can benefit the whole family and improve the quality and durability of agreements." (Gibson, 1998)
InterMEDIATE Dispute Management Family Dispute Resolution parenting plans include productive dialogue between parents to help them establish a cooperative working parental relationships, enabling them to consider their children and take the best possible care of them.
Parents' continuing conflict damages a child. Those who denigrate or demonise the other parent in front of a child can cause children to experience loyalty conflicts, anxiety, depression, aggresivebehaviour, learning difficulties, emotional instability, teenage pregnancy and even suicide. Although the parents are likely to recover emotionally within a few years, ongoing parental conflict is likely to impact negatively on the childs own relationships with others throughout their lives. These children often grow up psychologically and emotionally damaged, allowing themselves to be bullied or controlled, or by becoming bullies and controllers, believing that their behaviour is normal.
Children who experience loyalty conflicts and those who try to prop up their emotionally troubled parents, often say to each parent, what they think that parent wants to hear. Their story varies according to which parent they are speaking at the time.
Negative emotions and behaviours may be concealed by children in an attempt to protect themselves and their parents. Inner conflict may be unobserved by parents.
Unprocessed grief and loss emotions may cause children to develop behavioural and long term physiological problems.
InterMEDIATE Dispute Management Pty Ltd believes that each child must be given the opportunity to tell their authentic story. We are aware of major gaps in current mediation service delivery, as per numerous research projects and discussions with Government and non-Government organisations and key personnel. We continue to improve the framework by implementing many practical recommendations. We develop our service delivery to meet the needs that clearly exist, to support both parents and children through conflict and separation.
CHILD INCLUSIVE PRACTICE
InterMEDIATE Dispute Management Pty Ltd's team are multi-disciplinary and we utilise a multi-skilled team approach. Our associated Child Consultants, who are specifically trained in Child Inclusive Practice (DrJenn McIntosh's model - La Trobe University), use a range of techniques, depending on the needs of the family and the age of the child, including Bear Cards, story stems, sculpture, drawings and sand play.
Child Consultants see the children only with the agreement of both parents. This is usually a 1 hour session with each child, which is followed by an oral report delivered by the Child Consultant at the next mediation joint session. This essential information - the child's authentic story - helps to form the basis of co-operative parenting with a focus on their children. The oral report delivered by the Child Consultant to the parents, gives children the opportunity for appropriate inclusion in decisions that affect them.
InterMEDIATE Dispute Management Mediated Parenting Plans are generated and signed at the conclusion of the last session of mediation. There is no additional waiting time or fee for this service. If parties cannot agree, our Registered Family Dispute Resolution practitioners may issue 60I Certificates required by the courts as testament to the parties genuine attempt at family dispute resolution. Judges and magistrates may order court costs to be paid by the party who does not make a genuine attempt at family dispute resolution and/or order the couple to further attempt family dispute resolution.
Parents are the experts when it comes to their children.
A parenting plan is developed co-operatively and can be reviewed and adjusted at any time as long as it has the agreement of both parents. This is different to parenting orders which are made by a court of law. In court there are sometimes winners and losers, and at other times losers and losers, where parents risk a total stranger making vital decisions about their children. InterMEDIATE Dispute Management Pty Ltd Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners assist parents to develop more co-operative parenting styles and build their parenting attunement. Parents utilise their mediated Parenting Plans as an important mechanism that empowers their own parenting decisions, about suitable parenting arrangements for their children.
What is included in a Parenting Plan?
All aspects of care, responsibilities, welfare, the development of a child including their hopes needs and concerns, are discussed during the mediation and parents are encouraged to agree on the following matters:
- Who the child/ren will live with
- How the parenting time will be shared during school term and holidays
- What parenting time the child/ren will spend with each parent
- What time the child/ren will spend with other people, such as grandparents
- How the parents will share parental responsibility, such as deciding on schools sporting activities, extracurricular activities, health issues, body piercing, tattoos etc
- How much will each parent contribute to the cost of bringing up the children
- How the child/ren will communicate with both parents or other people
- How the parents will communicate about matters concerning their child/ren
- What arrangements need to be made for special days such as birthdays, holidays, Father's Day, Mother's Day, Christmas and Easter Holidays etc
- What process may be used to change the plan or to resolve any future disagreements about the plan.
- Any other issues the parents wish to include such as child maintenance, overseas travel, discipline matters, religion, household rules
- Blended families
- and much much more
The role of Grandparents, and Parenting Plans
"The important role of Grandparents has been recognised in the new reforms to the Family Law Act. These changes acknowledge that spending time with grandparents can provide children with a number of benefits, including an understanding of who they are and where they come from. A healthy relationship with grandparents or relatives can also give chilrensomone to talk to and confide in.
Children's needs and best interests will be the first consideration in any parenting, separation or family breakdown.
Where there is a healthy relationship between children and their grandparents, the changes make it easier for grandparents to remain involved in the lives of their grandchildren. It should be noted that involvement from grandparents is on a voluntary basis.
Relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren can be considered in parenting arrangements, agreements or disputes that follow family breakdowns, taking into account:
- The nature of the relationship between a child and grandparent
- The likely effect on the child of any separation from a grandparent with whom that child has a relationship and
- The capacity of the grandparent to provide for the needs of the child.
The reforms require parents to address this relationship, where applicable, in a parenting plan, and to consider how it contributes the child's best interests."
Paraphrased from: A new Family Law System, Putting the Focus on Kids, Australian Government, Fact Sheet 11, 2007
Changes to the Child Support Agency rules have made some significant impact on the way parents will pay or receive child support. Payments have been reassessed according to both parent's income and the number of nights the children spend with each parent. The government believes that this system is fairer and encourages more balanced parenting, with both parents having significant responsibility and input into their children's care
The Family Law system has changed how Shared Care Parenting is determined and managed. Providing there are no mandatory reporting requirements, both parents are recognised as being equally important and responsible in the child/ren's lives - before and after separation.
Shared Care Parenting does not automatically imply that the child/ren will spend equal time with both parents. Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners will help parents to take into account all practical considerations to work out how they will share the care of their children. Parenting plans are parent considerate and naturally, always in the best interests of their children.
These changes have caused many parents to rethink their responsibilites and other to dispute with each other over the care of their children. A mediated parenting plan can be crafted which is pracitcal, workable, sensitive to both parents and in the best interests of children.
New partners can have a greater or lesser role in the care of children. This is often an area which creates tension between natural parents who do not know or trust the new partner. Also see our Step Families webpage. There may be animosity between a parent and the other parent about the new partner. These situations can become so problematic, that separated parents who were previously amicable, become aggressive and non-cooperative. New partners are not likely to tolerate abuse from the other parent, and they may leave the new relationship. Mediation can help. With the agreement of all parties, we can organise face to face or telephone conferencing mediation (TDR Co) visit InterMEDIATE Dispute Managment Pty Ltd Telephone Dispute Resolution webpage so that each party can express their concerns in a respectful process. All issues can be explored and agreements made about the children, and instead of suffering, children can benefit from modeling of parents' civil behaviour.
New terminology. Negative terms as child custody and residence are recognised as inappropriate and have been removed from Family Dispute Resolution language. Child custody may imply an "ownership" of responsibility. Child custody may even be confused with child IN custody (prison). Child custody and residence are no longer mediated and have been replaced with "who the children will live with" and "who the children will spend time with."