Navigating An Unexpected Mediation Invitation: What You Need to Know

Navigating An Unexpected Mediation Invitation: What You Need to Know

So, you’ve received a mediation invitation out of the blue, and you’re probably scratching your head wondering what it all means, right? Well, don’t worry, you’re not alone in feeling this way. Sometimes, one party feels the need to address certain issues they’re facing, but they might feel like their attempts to communicate directly have fallen on deaf ears. Or perhaps they believe that involving a neutral third party is the best way to navigate through the sticky situation. Whatever the reason, getting a mediation invite can sometimes feel like being thrown into a whirlwind.

As a mediator, I often find myself engaged by one party to send out a mediation invitation. Unfortunately, these invitations aren’t always met with open arms, especially if they catch you off guard. If you’re in this boat, the first thing you should do is reach out to the mediator. Take the opportunity to gather more information. Sometimes, the invitation itself might not provide all the details you need to make an informed decision.

What do you need to know about mediation?

Now, here’s the deal: attending mediation is entirely voluntary. Yep, you heard that right. You’re under no obligation to participate if you’re not comfortable with it. But if you’re feeling unsure it’s a good idea to speak to a lawyer first. They’ll be able to let you know what your options are and what the potential consequences might be. In Australia if you refuse to participate in mediation, a certificate may be issued. This certificate allows the other party to commence court proceedings. Plus, there could be some cost-related repercussions. Especially, if you don’t make a genuine attempt to resolve the dispute during the mediation.

An invitation doesn’t mean the mediation will actually happen.

Oh, and here’s a little nugget of wisdom… Just because the other party has requested mediation doesn’t automatically mean that it’s a done deal. As a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, I must assess whether the matter is suitable for mediation. This assessment can only occur after conducting an intake interview. I often come across cases where one party mentions that there’s a domestic violence order in place. The assumption is that mediation cannot occur. But this is incorrect. Of course, your safety and well-being are top priorities, so if you have any concerns, make sure to bring them up during your intake interview.

If you’re keen to learn more about the ins and outs of the mediation process, you can grab our free mediation process document right here.

Take care, and remember, you’ve got options!

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