Mediation and Counselling

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What is mediation?

If you are not able to reach an amicable resolution on the divorce and ancillary issues involving children, assets and maintenance (alimony) with your spouse, the mediation process may be helpful.

In the mediation process, you will be able to communicate openly with your spouse and explore options through the assistance of a neutral third party (a mediator). The appointed mediator will assist by:

1. Facilitating discussion between you and your spouse.

2. Getting you and your spouse to focus on the future and finding acceptable and sustainable solutions.

What are the advantages of mediation?

1. You will be able to save time, money and stress.

2. You and your spouse are able to make your own decisions. The mediator’s sole is to mediate, and he/ she will not be able to make binding decisions like a Judge.

3. The process is confidential. As such if you are not able to reach a settlement, your spouse will not be able to raise anything you say at mediation against you in Court.

Mediation mandatory for parents who have at least 1 child under the age of 21

Mediation at the Child Focused Resolution Centre (CFRC) is compulsory if:

1. You have at least 1 child under the age of 21; and

2. You are not able to reach a settlement with your spouse directly. At mediation, you will be able to explore options involving all matters, not just child-related issues.

If you do not have at least 1 child under the age of 21, you may also opt for mediation or the Court may direct you and your spouse to attend mediation.

Mediation and Counselling at the CFRC

1. Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Conference: Parties will attend a FDR Conference with their lawyers. The mediator and family counsellor will be present. They will clarify the issues and set the agenda for the upcoming mediation and counselling sessions. A mediation date will be fixed. At the end of the FDR conference, parties will meet separately with the family counsellor for counselling in the absence of their lawyers and the mediator.

2. Counselling: The first counselling session will take place immediately after the FDR Conference. In this session, the family counsellor will gather further information from parties. He/ she will also address any immediate concerns involving the care and access arrangements for the child. After the first session, the family counsellor is likely to arrange for subsequent counselling sessions. In some cases, the child may be asked to attend. The family counsellor will focus on helping parties understand their parental roles and responsibilities, their child’s needs, and make joint decisions in the best interest of their child.

3. Mediation: At the mediation, legal aspects of the case will be discussed. Sustainable and acceptable options will be generated.

4. Resolution: If parties are able to reach an agreement, the agreed terms will be recorded by a Judge as a Court order. If there is a material change in circumstances in the future, parties can apply to vary the Court order.

How many sessions of mediation do I need to go through?

This depends on the number and complexity of the issues and the issues. In general, you are likely to have between 1 to 3 mediation sessions.

How should I prepare for my counselling and/ or mediation sessions?

Firstly, you should be prepared to answer the following questions and to state your position:

1. Child

a. Do you want to have care and control (i.e. live with him/ her) or only access to your child?

b. What are the present care arrangements for your child?

c. What is your child’s daily routine?

d. What are your working hours?

e. What are your proposed care arrangements if you are to become the primary care-giver of the child?

f. If you only want access, what are your proposed access arrangements?

g. If you have care and control, what are your proposed access arrangements for the other parent?

2. Matrimonial assets

a. What assets do you own?

b. What are the values of your assets?

c. What are your direct financial and indirect contributions to each asset?

d. What is your proposal with regards to division of matrimonial assets?

e. Questions in relation to your HDB flat: Can you sell your HDB flat? Are you (or your spouse) eligible to retain the HDB flat? What is the required amount of CPF refund if the HDB flat is sold? What is the amount of outstanding mortgage?

3. Maintenance (Alimony)

a. What is your monthly income?

b. What are the monthly expenses of yourself and your child?

What documents do I need to prepare for mediation?

1. Valuation reports for your properties (if any)

2. Latest CPF statements on withdrawals for properties

3. Latest CPF statements on CPF balances

4. Documents evidencing direct and indirect financial contributions towards the matrimonial assets, including receipts for renovation expenses

5. Documents showing outstanding mortgage loans

6. IRAS statements (3 years)

7. Payslips (6 months)

8. Detailed list of expenses of yourself and your child

Your divorce lawyer can assist by:

1. Ensuring that your interests and concerns are addressed.

2. Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your case by considering the legal trends and evidence.

3. Advising you on whether the other party’s proposals are reasonable and whether they should be accepted.

4. Drafting all necessary documents, including the agreement between parties (in the form of a consent order).

You may also be interested to read more about:

1. Divorce and Separation

2. Annulment (Nullity) of Marriage

3. Children’s Issues

4. Matrimonial Assets

5. Maintenance Issues (Alimony)

6. Family Violence