The Family Mediation Unit, which is under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, was made available to families in the Principality in January 2000.
What is Family Mediation?
Family Mediation is defined as "a process of building or rebuilding family ties based on the autonomy of persons affected by situations of break-up or separation in which an impartial, independent, qualified third party, with no decision-making powers – the family mediator – encourages, by organising confidential meetings, their communication and the management of their conflict in the family environment, taking account of its diversity and evolution" (National Family Mediation Consultative Council, 2002).
This process is led by a communications professional, the Family Mediator, in a strictly confidential and impartial context. The family mediation sessions last for approximately one-and-a-half hours. The mediator supports people in a situation of crisis or family break-up by:
- Re-establishing dialogue between the persons concerned
- Seeking "tailor-made" solutions that are adapted to each person's particular needs and in the children's interest
- Finding acceptable, mutual agreement that can be approved by a magistrate and is valid as a legal decision
Family Mediation is applicable to all family disputes:
- Helping couples who are separating or divorcing, whether married or not, with or without children, to make decisions themselves concerning their present and their future
- Couples who are separating or divorcing in an international context
- Mediation between children and parents, adolescents and step families
- Intergenerational mediation; siblings in conflict over property and inheritance issues or the care of an elderly parent
- Couples affected by domestic violence
- To help people out of conflict more quickly by offering answers to relationship and personal issues arising from a divorce or a separation and avoiding the financial cost and stress of a long procedure
- Enabling people to make their own decisions and avoid having legal decisions imposed upon them
- Enabling everyone involved to express themselves freely and be listened to and understood with regard to their expectations and needs
- Take decisions together on sharing family, parental and financial responsibilities
- Re-establish peaceful family relationships while protecting children from conflict
At any time before, during or after proceedings:
- Before any legal action, to avoid an escalation of the conflict
- During legal proceedings, creating a pause in the judiciary process; this can be requested by the people concerned or by a magistrate
- After a legal decision, or new elements, to come to agreements together that meet everyone's needs and are in the best interests of the child
The cost of Family Mediation
The implementation of an Family Mediation process is applicable to residents of the Principality. The Family Mediation sessions are free of charge.