“Continued Federal Government funding of family mediation is important as it will continue to provide an incentive to use services which produced good outcomes that hold up over time. Because for some families with children, costs associated with the divorce itself can be a critical factor in determining post-separation physical and emotional survival, subsidised family mediation services should be seen as a sound low cost investment in the future of separating families.”
Reasons for referral
9.68Custody was an issue for 29% of men and 31% of women, though 50% of both identified parenting issues as the reason for going to mediation. Surprisingly for those who see mediation as predominantly dealing with parenting issues, property disputes were an issue for 68% of males and 72% of females. Nearly half the cases were referred by solicitors of the Legal Aid Commission. A further 23% were self-referred.
9.69Satisfaction with the professionalism of the mediators, their perceived impartiality, the quality of the mediator-client relationship and the perception of being heard was very high. Almost all clients agreed that they had received enough information to protect their own best interests during mediation.1002 Despite some negative criticisms of the mediation process, “the overwhelming sense of the replies is one of strong positive endorsement for the unique features of mediation.”1003
9.70Full agreement was reached in 44% of cases. A further 39% of cases reached partial agreement and 17% failed to reach agreement. For custody disputes, full agreement was reached in 74% of cases. Agreement was reached for access in 60% of cases and in 61% of parenting disputes.
1002 Summary of the 1996 report, supra at 15.
1003 Ibid at 17.