More mediations by the family counselling offices
More than 20 800 mediations were completed in 2011; an increase of 1 per cent from the previous year. For the family counselling offices, this represents an increase of 6 per cent, and for cases conducted by external mediators a decrease of 10 per cent in the number of mediations.
Mandatory mediation by cessation of cohabitation is conducted both by external mediators and by family counselling offices. Family offices concluded nearly 900 more cases in 2011 than the year before, while in the same period there was a decline of more than 600 cases conducted by the external mediators. Thus, 74 per cent of all the mediations in 2011 were conducted by the family offices, compared to 71 per cent the year before.
Mediation in connection with separation or divorce accounted for the largest portion of all concluded mediation cases, with 36 per cent of all mediations, and the break down of cohabitation accounted for 30 per cent. Disagreements between the parents about parental responsibility, place of residence and access arrangements (mediations according to the Children Act) accounted for 34 per cent of the mediations. Few cases are referred back to mediation after they have been referred to the court system; this applied to 20 mediations in 2011, compared to 17 cases the year before.
|Total||20 827||15 480||5 347||1.3|
|Region East||7 271||5 387||1 884||1.4|
|Region South||4 168||3 057||1 111||-0.3|
|Region West||4 215||3 096||1 119||5.9|
|Region Middle||2 844||2 186||658||-0.3|
|Region North||2 329||1 754||575||-1.5|
|Cause of mediation|
|Mediations according to separation/divorce (Marriage Act)||7 440||5 480||1 960||-2.1|
|Mediations according to separation of cohabitants||6 308||4 740||1 568||0.8|
|Mediations according to Children Act||7 059||5 244||1 815||5.7|
|Mediations returned from court system (Children Act)||20||16||4||17.6|
Fewer had to wait more than three weeks
In 2011, 15 per cent of the cases started within a week after the client contacted the family counselling service, and 28 per cent started during the second week. This is about the same level as the previous year. However, there was a share-related increase of two percentage points for mediation cases with two to three weeks waiting time, which thus represents 29 per cent of all mediations in 2011. It is considered reasonable to get an appointment for mediation within three weeks. In 2011, the proportion of mediation cases with more than three weeks waiting time was reduced to 28 per cent, compared to 30 per cent the year before.
For most, one hour of mediation is sufficient
In 2011, most of the mediations, a total of 63 per cent, were concluded after the mandatory one hour. This is the same level as the previous year. Almost all the cases in 2011 were concluded within six months, and 88 per cent were completed during the first two months.
Less use of external counselling
In 2011, there was a 10 per cent decrease in the concluded cases conducted by external counselling, compared to the previous year. Mediations by external counselling thus accounted for 26 per cent of all completed mediation in 2011, compared to 29 per cent in 2010.
External mediators are lawyers, priests, social workers, psychologists or others with health and social education. These mediators are not employed by the family office, but appointed by The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufetat) when needed. The reduction in the number of mediation cases conducted by external mediators applied to all types of mediations. The strongest reduction was in the use of priests in external mediation cases, with a decline of 43 per cent from the year before. Lawyers in private practice had the lowest decline, with 3 per cent.
With regard to the share-related distribution of the mediations conducted by external mediators, at country level there is an increase from 46 to 49 per cent in the proportion of those employed in social or health care facilities. For lawyers in private practice there is an increase from 29 to 31 per cent. For all other types of mediations the proportions have decreased in 2011.
In all other counties than Oslo, Akershus and Sør-Trøndelag, there was a proportional reduction in the use of external mediators in 2011. The strongest decline was in Vest-Agder and Vestfold, where mediation cases conducted by external mediators accounted for 34 and 27 per cent of all mediation in 2011, versus 53 and 48 per cent the year before.
Mediation - for who and when
Mediation is mandatory in connection with separation or divorce (Marriage Act) and in connection with separation of cohabitants (Children Act).
Mediation is also mandatory in connection with court decisions on parental responsibility, children’s place of residence and access arrangements, and this is registered as mediations according to the Children Act. The court may refer parents to further mediation, which is registered as returned from court system (Children Act).
The family counselling offices are the core unit in the Norwegian mediation service, and mediation is a major part of the family counselling service’s work. In addition, from 1 January 2008 onwards, Bufetat (the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs) appoints external mediators as needed; for example, lawyers, priests, social workers, psychologists or others within health and social education. (See "Regulations for mediation by the Marriage Act and the Children Act", § 3 and § 4).
The purpose of the mediation is to reach an agreement on parental responsibility, access arrangements or the child/children’s permanent residence. The child’s needs are emphasised in this respect. One mediation session is mandatory for parents in connection with separation/divorce and separation of cohabitants, but parents can have up to seven sessions.
On 1 January 2007, mediation was also made mandatory when cohabitant couples with common children aged below 16 split up. This resulted in a break in the time series as of 2007.
For more figures, go to StatBank .