The role of the mediator

The mediator is not a judge, does not take sides and is not an enforcer.

Instead, the mediator assists clients as a neutral, impartial and non-judgmental facilitator. In this way, the Mediator can guide the parties to an acceptable outcome which will meet their individual needs, for example, a practical parenting agreement and/or a property settlement.

The mediator strives to diplomatically re-frame critical, conflictual comments from one party to another. The mediator’s task is to calmly contain confrontational anxieties, and then focus clients onto solutions.

The mediator has no decision-making power and is there to assist clients to voluntarily reach their own mutually acceptable agreement or settlement of issues in dispute.

How to start the mediation process

1. Make initial contact

Contact Creative Mediation during office hours or via the contact page to discover how mediation may help, discuss a specific situation or make an appointment for your first meeting

2.  First meeting

  • Listen and understand disputed issues
  • Discuss whether the issues are suitable for mediation
  • Clarify any questions about mediation
  • Explain the process of mediation and what to expect
  • Explore any matters which may deem mediation unsafe, unfair or unsuitable
  • Suggest appropriate referrals for legal advice (if required), counselling or other sources of support such as the Child Support Agency.

If mediation is considered suitable for your situation, your former partner and/or other relevant parties will be invited to attend an intake interview.

This meeting can take one to two hours depending upon the complexity of the issues in dispute.

A joint session can then be booked if mediation is deemed safe and appropriate.

3. First mediation session

A family mediation will typically take two to three hours and is conducted in a private room.

The mediator will:

  • explain the process
  • set expectations
  • facilitate each party to talk directly about their issue/s
  • examine a range of possible solutions.

If an agreement is required, the mediator will work towards one that takes into account everyone’s needs and concerns

At the end of the mediation, each client is provided with a summary, usually by email, highlighting important points discussed and any agreements reached.

Further mediation sessions

In some matters issues are resolved within one mediation session. However, depending upon the complexity of the issue and level of conflict, the process can take two to three sessions, sometimes more.


All discussions that take place within the mediation session or at individual mediation sessions with the mediator are confidential and cannot be used as evidence in court – except if there are claims of child abuse or a threat to someone’s life.

Individual mediation sessions

At any stage of the mediation process, parties may ask to speak individually (and confidentially) with the mediator. The mediator may choose to call a private session if the discussions are stalling.


Agreements reached during the mediation are not legally binding. However, they can usually be converted into enforceable Court-registered agreements or Consent Orders.

Find out more

Read about Sandra Waley’s work in family mediation.

Read more about Sandra’s qualifications.

Visit the Creative Mediation news pages for more information.

Contact Sandra Waley for a confidential discussion about how mediation can help you or call on 0411 355 633.