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Questions and answers concerning mediation

Dear reader!

You have taken the initiative to make yourself familiar with the offer of mediation. This is an important step for yourself and your family.

Marriages end up in a divorce, relationships break apart. This is painful and regrettable, but it happens. Broken partnerships mostly end in disappointment, sadness, dispute, accusations, lack of communication. The partner’s dialogue is replaced by lawyers who argue about  property assets and maintenance compensation. Children become the objects of dispute before the family court which is left with the responsibility.

Mediation is part of an emancipatory civil movement. Mediation wants to enable the parties to take their own decisions even under difficult circumstances. Mediation is result-oriented. The results of mediation are neither „right“ nor „wrong“, but turn out to be good if they are felt to be fair and consistent by both partners and if negotiations have not been conducted about children, but for the benefit of children.

In view of a court decision or the breaking up of a partnership, the aim is to reach an agreement between the partners which offers a solid basis for future dealings with each other and for their joint responsibility towards the children. Mediation is suitable for those who are affected by the drastic experience of separation.

Mediation does not suppress, nor does it remove anger, pain or disappointment, but it can promote, or restore, the willingness to talk and to negotiate; it can enable people to negotiate their own decisions instead of leaving them to a third party.

Mediation also offers itself as a model to settle conflicts in other areas of family conflicts, such as generation conflicts, inheritance disputes, drafting contracts before or during the partnership, conflicts in adoptive and foster families.

What is mediation?

The concept of mediation has continued to grow in the past ten years. It provides a model to assume responsibility for the settlement of conflicts with the help of a neutral third party, the mediator. It is you who decides on the issues you want to discuss and which problems you want to settle for the future.

Which conflicts are addressed?

The whole range of conflicts which people argue about can become topics of mediation. The most frequent topics are:

  • Separating from one’s spouse or partner
  • Parental custody for the children
  • Alimony issues
  • Inheritance disputes
  • Elder mediation
  • Mobbing / Vocational problems
  • Tensions at school
  • Family owned companies

Who can attend mediation?

Everyone who wants to settle a conflict with his / her conflict partner. There are no conditions with regard to the family composition: all generations and sexes are welcome.

How long does mediation last?

Normally, the individual session lasts 60 or 90 minutes. The number of sessions necessary to achieve a fair settlement depends on you. The number of three to eight appointments is rarely exceeded. It will also be important how quickly you manage to submit the necessary documents.

Are there any prerequisites for mediation?

The only indispensable prerequisite for mediation is the willingness of the parties to sit around the table, to feel encouraged to stand up for their interests and to develop models and agreements in a spirit of fairness; e.g. on the question of each other’s home, on household financing, on old-age provision, on property disputes, on the distribution of household effects and on questions of parental custody.

How expensive is mediation?

Normally, the fee is based on hourly rates, in the case of consultative bodies partly on donations. Therefore, no standard fee can be given; it can vary between 50 and 250 EUR per session (60 minutes). Please make sure in advance of the costs to be expected.

How does mediation finish?

Normally, the results of mediation are summed up in a memorandum acc. to the parties‘ joint decision. In the case of separation or divorce, a – legally binding – agreement is sought. Here, lawyers are involved and, if required, the agreement is authenticated by a notary.

What risk do I take with regard to mediation?

None. Mediation is based on the concept of respect, fairness, an honest exchange of arguments and a practical settlement for the future. Court proceedings can be suspended for the purpose of mediation; limitation periods are suspended during mediation (since 1.1.2002).

By the way: mediation is a voluntary procedure and can be terminated by you at any stage.

We would like to encourage you to make use of the mediation procedure.

Who are the BAFM-Mediators?

The BAFM-Mediators have been trained at one of the 14 nation-wide BAFM-Institutes or hold an equivalent qualification. The training standards have set criteria well beyond family mediation. They correspond to the European guidelines. The mediators originate from socio-pedagogical, psychological and legal professions with the relevant practical experience.

The BAFM-training standards for the two-year thorough training are high. The final qualification is linked with the protected title of „Mediator/in (BAFM)“.

Mediation is a voluntary procedure during which the conflict partners find a settlement through direct dialogue with the help of a neutral person (the mediator). The Bundes-Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Familien-Mediation (BAFM) will be pleased to help you find the addresses of mediators on our website.