Every effort will be made at the outset of the program to engage the parties in mediation in order to resolve their conflict. However, should mediation fail for any reason, the intervention aspect of the Program will begin with the consent from voluntary participation by at least one party.
The conflict resolution team which also consists of three workers who will work together and with the consenting parties involved to gather and analyze information and to assist the consenting parties to come to the most effective solution to resolve the family conflict. Professional services are brought in if this can be helpful to enable a resolution to the conflict. With a team approach, gathering information is much more efficient and the outcome more reliable. Recommendations are never made by just one person. Both parties are allowed to provide whatever information they feel is relevant to the conflict resolution team. Whether it is mediation or intervention the goal is to resolve the conflict to the satisfaction of the parties without having to go to court.
If there are children involved in the conflict and they are of an age and of maturity to express their wishes and preferences and wish to do so, they will be interviewed by trained workers so that their wishes and preferences can be established. Apart from it being their right, it is important to find out more about the family situation and how the conflict is affecting them.
After information gathering has been completed by the conflict resolution team, a detailed preliminary list of recommendations and the reasons for the recommendations will be prepared and submitted to the parties in writing for their initial review and further input. After a review of the draft recommendations, a final list of recommendations will be generated by the team and a copy provided to all parties.
If there is still no resolution and if the consenting party has no other option except to go to court, the team members will thoroughly review the information and documentation which would have been provided to the Program at the outset and prepare a written report. This report will be will be provided for all parties. The said report will include the team’s recommendations and their reasons for arriving at them. Matters will then be returned to the court.
Because of the team approach which is used in the Program, sufficient human resources are available to properly analyze and formulate solutions to resolve family conflict. In comparison to the family court system, many overburdened family court judges get only one chance to review evidence and submissions on the day of the hearing with decisions often being made that very same day by the presiding judge. With the heavy workloads facing judges and court administrators, the judge(s) may not have the time to review a case file before he or she hears the court matter. The parties could end up spending significant amounts of money on lawyers and other types of professionals and still end up with a court decision that is flawed and unfavorable to all the parties, including and most importantly, to the children involved in the matter.