Mediation is a process that offers a safe and non-acrimonious environment for parties in a dispute to communicate openly with each other to resolve their differences. Parties can be guided to explore options for themselves and their children through the assistance of a neutral third party (a mediator), instead of engaging in a lengthy and acrimonious court battles.
Mediation can help:
In 2016, the law makes it compulsory for divorcing parties who have children under 21 years of age to undergo CFRC Counselling and Mediation sessions conducted at Family Justice Courts, 5 Maxwell Road, #04-00, Tower Block MND Complex, Singapore 069110.
CFRC aims to assist divorcing parents to prioritize the welfare of their children and to reach agreements on child’s custody, care and control, access and child maintenance at the early stages of the divorce proceedings. Divorcing parents tend to be more cooperative and compromising in the settlement process relating to division of assets, properties and maintenance issues when the child’s issues are dealt with.
The Court usually directs mediation session to be convened at the stage where defendants file his/her defence and counterclaim. This is to assist parties to reach an early settlement for their divorce and ancillary matters.
You are required to travel to Singapore to attend at least one session of CFRC. Subsequent sessions can either be conducted via video-conferencing or that your lawyer represents you in the mediation while calling you on the phone constantly to check your instructions.
While the court system tries not to involve the children, where necessary, sessions will be arranged for the children to speak to the judge-mediator or family counsellor if they are mature enough or of age or if the child wishes to have his/her voice heard.
While mediation sounds cordial and less intimidating than trial courts, your spouse and his/her lawyers may not. If you appear as litigant-in-person, you have no one to advise you on your legal rights and options to the issues along the way, whereas your spouse is well-advised and has a professional lawyer to explain everything to him during the sessions.
Judge-mediators, like other mediators are facilitator and are not allowed to advise you of your legal rights. They can only explain the process to you.
Lawyers’ roles are to advocate your best case for you during trial and also during mediation. At the mediation sessions, lawyers are required to strategize your case, and what to compromise in order to get the best outcome as a whole. For instance, you may be willing to settle for lesser child maintenance when you may be able to offset what you need to pay to your spouse for his share of the flat.
Briefly, when lawyers attend mediation for clients, typically what needs to be done as follows: –
Parties usually takes 2 to 3 sessions to settle all their issues. The duration of the sessions depends on the complexity of the case and also how quickly the parties can reach an agreement.
You may on your own accord discuss with your spouse to engage a private mediator to help parties come to a resolution to the divorce and ancillary matters before filing for divorce to work on uncontested divorce. However, the fees of private mediators range from S$3000 per day. Depending on the complexity and number of sessions for mediation, you may be paying close to S$10,000. This is more expensive than Yeo & Associates LLC fees to handle the mediation for you.
The court will likely direct divorcing couples to attend mediation at Singapore Mediation Centre (Family Mediation Scheme) or agreed private mediators if the marriage has assets where the gross value of known assets is S$2million or above. The costs for the mediation are S$3,000 per party per day to be shared by the parties. This cost is not inclusive of legal fees. If you have lawyers, the court will fix court dates for your lawyers to return to Family Justice Court to report or update the progress and outcome of mediation.
Aside from the compulsory CFRC mediation for divorcing couples having children under the age of 21 years old, the judges at the Family Justice Courts have the power refer any matters deemed suitable for private or court mediation.
You tried your best to discuss possible solutions or compromise. However, you still could not achieve a full settlement to all the issues in the divorce and ancillary matters. The judge-mediator will either direct another “final” mediation sessions to try for settlement; or direct the case for trial/hearing.
Depending on what was left off at the mediation, the case may either proceed for contested divorce trial or proceed with contested ancillary matters hearing.
Our specialist divorce lawyers at Yeo & Associates LLC attend mediations almost on a daily basis. Our lawyers are all specialist divorce lawyer trained and well-versed in mediation. Call us at 62203400 to obtain a fixed fee and capped quote for your mediation process.