•    Mediation is less expensive than litigation, quicker and less traumatic.
•    Mediation is always voluntary for the parties and they can at any time leave the negotiations.
•    In mediation confidentiality is respected.
•    Mediator is neutral and impartial.
•    Mediator does not offer any legal advice.
•    Mediator presides over the negotiations
•    It is dealt with by an independent expert.  The expert will also draft a Parenting Plan, which will be incorporated in a Settlement Agreement between the parties.

Types of Mediation
The mediation includes disputes relating to all personal relationships between parties, including with reference to:
•    a marriage (civil and/or religious);
•    a Customary Union; and
•    a Partnership Agreement governing a personal relationship;
•    parties cohabiting

Advantages of Mediation
•    It is voluntary
•    Joint decisions are made on issues relating to the children involved
Expensive litigation is avoided
The emotional stress of divorce is minimized
Conflict is reduced by parties working together
Mediation is a process where people appoint a third party to help them resolve disputes between themselves: Mediation is not a court hearing. The mediator is not a judge. Mediation is not counseling or therapy.

The Mediation Process
•    The mediation process takes between 3 to 5 sessions of 60 minutes each.
•    At the end of the mediation process the expert will provide the parties with a Parenting Plan. This document details all the points of agreement reached during the mediation process.
•    Parenting Plans are drafted where there are minor children involved. In the case of divorce this is an annexure to the Settlement Agreement.

•    The Family Advocate assists the parties to reach an agreement on disputed issues, namely primary care, contact and guardianship. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the Family Advocate evaluates the parties’ circumstances in light of the best interests of the child and makes a recommendation to the Court with regard to primary care, contact and guardianship.
•    This process is an alternative to the mediation process.

•    The Family Advocate cannot become involved in any matter that has already been finalised by the Court, accept on application.
•    The Family Advocate cannot be subpoenaed to Court as a witness to give evidence on behalf of any party even if his/ her recommendation is in favour of that party.
•    The recommendation of the Family Advocate is intended to assist the Court in adjudicating a matter and arriving at a particular order. The recommendation itself is not enforceable unless incorporated in a Court Order.
•    The Family Advocate is a neutral institution and cannot act as the legal representative for either litigant, in a matter.

•    There is a dispute regarding contact or care of a child.
•    They want to register their parental rights and responsibilities agreements.
•    A person wants to amend or terminate parental rights and responsibilities agreements registered with the Family Advocate.
•    There is a dispute on whether the unmarried father of the child born out of wedlock has satisfied the requirements which makes him eligible to acquire full parental rights and responsibilities in terms of the law.
•    Courts also make orders that the Family Advocate has to conduct an inquiry as to what is in the best interest of the child.

The services of the Family Advocate are rendered to the public free of charge. The Family Advocate is a legal officer employed by the Department of Justice and acts as legal representative of the children.


A parenting plan is where parents are co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights including where and with whom the child is to live, the maintenance of the child, contact between the child and any of the parents or any other person and the schooling and religious upbringing of the child.

(See also paragraphs under Mediation)

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