When the court orders parents to attend at a conference or mediation for children, there are many things to consider. Mediations and conferences can either be held with or without children, depending on whether there would be a benefit to the children participating. Factors such as the age of the child (generally children under 8 will not participate), maturity of the child and sibling involvement will be considered.

They are designed to facilitate discussion about arrangements for the children and are not generally attended by the lawyers. They are run by a Family Consultant, who is a qualified social worker or psychologist, with experience with working with families and children. It is a free service that is offered during the court process if it is appropriate to your matter.

Conferences are designed as an interim process and generally not designed to determine long term care arrangements. However, at the conclusion of the conference the Family Consultant will prepare a brief document, called a Memorandum to Court, to advise them of your situation and focuses on the children’s needs. The Memorandum to Court may also contain recommendations on a pathway moving forward.

When participating in these mediations or conferences, the Court can provide measures to ensure your safety, for example, in the case of allegations of family violence, the Court will provide separate rooms and separate entrances for each party.

If you are currently separating from your partner, with or without children involved, call Sriyani or any of our experienced family lawyers at Hume Taylor& Co to discuss your situation today.