Family mediation or the mediation of divorce disputes is primarily intended for parents going through a divorce or separation who require the assistance of an impartial specialist to mediate their differences of opinion and to facilitate communication and cooperation between them on issues concerning future arrangements regarding their children and to conclude agreements on such matters. The aim of mediation proceedings is not so much to achieve reconciliation as to reach a workable settlement.
The parties to the mediation must pay the mediator an agreed fee for mediation and associated costs. The mediator may ask the parties to pay the mediation fee in advance.
The service is made available and financed in the following ways:
- through the local authority in whose area the child resides, with partial financing by that local authority;
- through the decision of a judge following court proceedings, financed by the parties themselves or, where possible, by applying for national legal aid;
- at the initiative of, and financed by, an informed parent.
The mediator within the meaning of the Conciliation Act must be: one of the following
(1) a natural person who has been instructed by the parties to mediate a dispute between them (e.g. an expert in psychology, social issues (including child protection and social work) or a legal specialist). The mediator may act through a legal person with whom they are in an employment or other contractual relationship;
(2) a barrister who has made a declaration to that effect to the board of the Estonian Bar Association;
(3) a notary who has made a declaration to that effect to the Chamber of Notaries;
(4) in the cases laid down in the Act, a State or local government mediation body.
In the Republic of Estonia, the organisation of family mediation services is governed by the following legislation:
In Estonia, family mediators are currently represented by the Estonian Association of Mediators (Eesti Lepitajate Ühing) or the Mediation Institute (Lepituse Instituut).
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