Your mediator should be Accredited. This means that your mediator has been trained, but also held accountable for performance. I do encourage you also to consider engaging with a non accredited mediator who is being supervised by
an Accredited colleague to assist in the growth of the field of mediation to ensure a future where fewer families are participating
in litigated separation/divorce.
Susan Cook has
been mediating since 1999, and has been Accredited since 2005.
2. Working knowledge
of Family Courts and Family Law-
A mediator is
only required a basic knowledge of the legislation and relevant Acts that your separation and divorce must rely on to reach
a fair and equitable agreement.
Susan Cook has
several years of experience, not only learning the relevant legislation, but using the legislation to assist her clients in
reaching fair outcomes while working in the family court system as Family Court Worker.
3. Experience in Mental Health and Family Dynamics
from many varied backgrounds. What you should be looking for in a mediator to assist your family in transitioning to the future
in its new dynamic is a professional trained in mental health and family dynamics.
This will provide you not only with the basics of change, but to educate you on how each of your family members may
react or behave through the process and beyond. A mediator trained in the area
of mental health can assist clients explore and manage the feelings associated with divorce in a way that lawyers/courts
can and will not, which will help everyone move forward quicker, and more completely.
Susan Cook is
a trained mental health professional with years of experience working primarily with families and clients experiencing separation
4. Children’s Mental Health
The primary concern
of any mediator when children are involved in a separation/divorce is the children.
Your mediator should not only care about the best interest of your children, but know what that means. This will provide you the assistance you need in making the best decisions for them.
Susan Cook is
Certificated in Children’s Mental Health and has made it her primary goal to ensure that all decisions for children
are made with their best interest as to their age, development and future growth in to adulthood and healthy relationships
of their own.
Susan Cook pioneered the now oft recommended 6/6/6 process of introducing new partners to the children.
This was developed through her knowledge of not only the children's best interest, but also incorporating the needs of the
parents to be able to move forward with their new life with structured, yet less overwhelming expectations.
As a Family Law Mediator and Parenting Coordinator
tell my clients, "regardless of what we decide to put in place as
a Parenting Plan, the children will let you know if it works for them through
development and behaviour. Some will
vote with their feet." What parents
are reluctant to accept, but must learn to live with, is that gender does not
determine who might be the "best" parent for your children at time of
divorce. Note, I did not say
"better parent", but "best at the time of divorce."
Difficult waters to wade through which is why Parenting Plans
are better worked through with a mental health professional with expertise in
family law and child development rather than through opposing counsel working
diligently as a zealous advocate for their client, not necessarily the best
interest of the child, or an impartial judge with little working knowledge of
the situation other than the scathing affidavits of material that may or may
not be true and read moments before entering the courtroom.