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Takeaways from the 2021 National Mediation Conference

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

The FamilyProperty team had the pleasure of virtually presenting and attending the National Mediation Conference from 8 to 11 September 2021. The Conference was broadcasted all the way from Mparntwe (Alice Springs).

In FamilyProperty’s workshop “Navigating Family Dispute Resolution services in uncertain times utilising innovative technology, the team:

  1. discussed some of the practical and technological challenges faced by Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners during COVID-19;

  2. showcased how FamilyProperty assists to overcome those challenges by connecting many of the manual, disconnected and offline processes involved in family law mediations together in one platform;

  3. emphasised that the rationale behind FamilyProperty is to empower families to resolve family law disputes more efficiently and amicably.

You can watch the recording here:

FamilyProperty was also highlighted in the following workshops presented by enterprise colleagues:

“Better Place Australia” workshop presented by Kristin Poel

Kristen Poel presented an insightful webinar on the use of alternative professional skills such as accounting expertise in financial mediations.

She emphasised how these transferrable skills can advance the quality of mediation services and more appropriately equip clients with the tools to ensure that their mediations succeed.

It was noted that the FamilyProperty online platform was an extremely useful tool as it made matters more efficient, easily captured data and offered outputs and proposals.

“Relationships Australia NSW” workshop presented by Tara Houseman

Tara Houseman presented on the topic of property Family Dispute Resolution in Family Relationship Centres and addressed both sides of the ‘coin’.

She set out the importance of good clinical practice, mentoring and training and how it has made a real difference to how Family Relationship Centres assist clients and manage property Family Dispute Resolution matters.

Ms Houseman described the extensive use of FamilyProperty by Relationships Australia mediators and explained how FamilyProperty has been a very useful tool for Relationships Australia NSW over the last two years.

She referred to FamilyProperty as a “sophisticated program which is used to support clients preparing and participating in property settlements negotiations, either in mediation or with their lawyers”.

Here are some of our key takeaways from the other presentations at the National Mediation Conference:

“Safe and Connected Youth Program” workshop presented by Hamish Guthrie

Hamish Guthrie presented on the benefits of advancing mutual understanding and open communication within the family through the assistance of therapeutic caseworkers.

As an advocate for the Australian Capital Territory’s Safe and Connected Youth Program, Mr Guthrie championed how familial relations were dramatically improved by taking active steps to ensure housing, education and mental health needs were met.

“Neutrality & Impartiality: The Imperatives of Alternatives” workshop presented by Dr Susan Douglas

Dr Susan Douglas brought the Conference an interesting perspective on the requirement of mediators to maintain neutrality and the changing nature of this nationally accredited standard.

Although integral to mediation services, Dr Douglas noted that in relationships of power inequality, strict neutrality can result in this power being exploited. Through recognising the need to limit bias rather than eliminate it, mediators are then better equipped to enhance mediation services.

“The Necessity of the Debrief” workshop presented by Marilyn Waugh

Marilyn Waugh outlined the benefits and the necessity of debriefing after mediation. She outlined that the process not only ensures practitioners are constantly learning and developing, building trust and confidence within their teams, but that it ensures their self-care is accommodated for.

With falling numbers of Family Dispute Resolution practitioners, Ms Waugh said that it is vital that levels of stress and vicarious trauma are combated through supportive, team-based practices like the debrief.

“Our Vision for a More Peaceful Australia” workshop presented by Joanne Law

Joanne Law presented on how the use of collaborative processes like historical traditional rituals derived from Australia’s Indigenous communities can make mediations better.

She discussed how the increase of meaningful communication and promotion of respect within the family through family group conferencing is vital to the advancement of mediation services in Australia.

Ms Law asserted that as peacemakers, mediators should commit daily to ensuring that safety nets are available for individuals experiencing a breakdown of familial relationships.

“Divorce Coaching – The New Paradigm” workshop presented by Anne-Marie Cade

Anne-Marie Cade’s presentation focused on explaining the concept of divorce coaching and how it can benefit clients engaging in mediation.

Information was provided on how coaching - which is a future-focused and goal-oriented process - can help clients bring their A-game to the mediation process so they can make the best decisions for their families.

Want to learn more about FamilyProperty and how it can assist you and your clients in Family Dispute Resolution? Book a demonstration below!

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