Divorce Mediation

Melissa de Waard
Divorce Mediator & Clinical Social worker
BA Socw (Hons) wits, Divorce mediator ( Reg. SAAM),
PR NO. 089 000 0296538

Consulting Rooms:
Hobart Road Shopping Centre
9 Hobart Road, Medical Suite, B6,
Bryanston, Johannesburg
Tell: 011 463 7511,
email: melissad@discovery.co.za


I have been a clinical social worker for 13 years since graduating from Wits with a Bachelor Arts in with honours in Social work. I have been in private practice for the past five years. My offices are in the newly refurbished Hobart Grove Shopping Centre in Bryasnton. I cover all aspects of counselling- individual, marriage/couple counselling, trauma debriefing. I developed a real interest in Divorce Mediation after completing a course through Family Life centre part of FAMSA in 2009. I am registered with the South African Association of Mediators and work in conjunction with three attorneys assisting couples to move through a process to a point of resolution. I consult Mondays through to Thursdays, and Saturday mornings.

What is Divorce Mediation?

What is Divorce Mediation and why choose this over the normal legal route? Divorce Mediation, conflict, children, and parenting plans are but a few words and concepts that enter one’s life when faced with the prospect of divorce.

The process of getting divorced has often been equated to that of a slow form of dying and yet on the other hand one has a false fantasy of winning and victory, which often arises from this process. In any acrimonious divorce there is no “victory” and only loss and heartache will be felt by all parties involved.

At best one needs to work towards an outcome that can be as peaceful and functional as possible. Berating ones partner or seeing oneself as ‘wounded’ will ultimately not prove conducive to closing this chapter in one’s life. Entering the divorce process with a hope to ‘win ego’ will prove extremely expensive and ultimately set off a long drawn out process of acrimonious back and forth of attorney’s letters. However, the New Children’s Act provides parents with invaluable guidelines concerning acceptable contact and care for children, rights of unmarried fathers, grandparents etc.

Divorce mediation should be seen as the most positive option that a couple can take on separating or having decided on divorce. Mediation sees the children as the clients of this process. Mediation is particularly relevant in SA where the “no fault’ law applies whereby the courts are not concerned with attributing blame to the breakdown of the marriage to one or the other parties.

Thus divorce mediation is a process of dissolving the marriage or the union in a non adversarial way. The mediator works with the couple to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to conflict. The couple will receive a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ which provides guidelines which once acted upon can be taken to an attorney for finalization. As a mediator, no sides are taken, as it is essential to be a neutral facilitator at all times.

Just as pre marriage counselling can be seen as a process that prepares one for marriage, so does divorce mediation prepare one for life after the divorce. Problems relating to ex partners and problems faced by now single parents, are all part of this “new life”. One is never able to anticipate future issues at the time of divorce and couples should be encouraged to return to mediation to resolve arising conflicts effectively and quickly.

In conclusion help, advice and working through this with a professional is essential to a positive outcome where a person can recover and move on with the next chapter in their life.


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