WHEN DISPUTES ARISE
Litigation (or time in courts) is a costly business. Where possible, therefore, try to settle any disputes that may arise with the other parent. Cathy advises that parents should try to co-operate as far as is reasonably possible. “When parents play games with litigation, it leads to major problems,“she says. Should you be unable to reach an agreement with your child’s other parent, agree to at least see a facilitator or mediator who will guide and facilitate you toward an agreement. Although this option may be also be expensive, it may cost you much less than litigation and will often lead to a much quicker outcome. Should you be unhappy with the outcome of a facilitation process, you are still able to apply to court for appropriate relief.
Professional facilitation bodies exist across South Africa. In the Western Cape, for instance, the Family Mediators’ Association of Cape (www.famac.co.za, 021 801 6176) provides facilitation and mediation services. Their members consist of attorneys, advocates, psychologists and social workers who have experience in a variety of family law matters. The South African Association of Mediators (www.saam.org.za, 086 719 1811) can provide details of mediators and facilitators in Gauteng.