Fewer mediations
Social conditions, welfare and crime
meklingfam, Mediation for parents, mediation, relationship breakdown, separation, divorce, parental responsibility, access rights, family counselling offices, family counselling services, external mediators (for example solicitors, ministers, psychologists)Child welfare and family counselling , Social conditions, welfare and crime

Mediation for parents2012



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Fewer mediations

Nearly 20 400 mediations for parents were completed in 2012; a decrease of 2 per cent from the previous year. For the family counselling offices, this represents an increase of nearly 2 per cent. For external mediators however, there was a decrease of 13 per cent in the number of mediations.

Completed meditations, by mediation authority, region and cause of mediation.
All mediation authoritiesFamily officesMediations by external counsellingDifferense in per cent from the previous year.
2012201220122011 - 2012
The whole country20 38615 7584 628-2.1
Region East7 2295 6361 593-0.6
Region South4 1273 1041 023-1.0
Region West4 1613 193968-1.3
Region Middle2 6602 035625-6.5
Region North2 2091 790419-5.2
Cause of mediation
Separation/divorce (Marriage Act)7 1405 4441 696-4.0
Separations of cohabitants6 3114 9161 3950.0
Mediation applications pursuant to Children Act6 9045 3701 534-2.2
Returned from court system (Children Act)3128355.0
Completed mediations by external mediations authority, by type of counsellor. 2011 and 2012

Mandatory mediation for cessation of cohabitation is conducted both by external mediators and by family counselling offices. Family offices concluded nearly 300 more cases in 2012 than the year before, while in the same period there was a decline of about 700 cases conducted by the external mediators. Thus, 77 per cent of all the mediations in 2012 were conducted by the family offices; an increase of 3 per cent from the year before.

Mediation in connection with separation or divorce accounted for 35 per cent of all mediations, and the break down of cohabitation accounted for 31 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 31 mediations in 2012, compared to 20 cases the year before.

Shorter waiting times

In 2012, 15 per cent of the cases started within a week of the client contacting the family counselling service. This is the same level as the year before. Twenty-nine per cent started during the second week. This is an increase of 1 percentage point from the previous year. As the year before, mediation cases with two to three weeks waiting time represent 29 per cent of all mediations in 2012. In 2012, the proportion of mediation cases with more than three weeks waiting time was reduced to 26 per cent, compared to 28 per cent the year before. Thus, more parents got an appointment within two weeks, and fewer had to wait more than three weeks in 2012 than the year before.

Slightly longer duration of cases

Sixty-two per cent of the cases were concluded after the mandatory one hour; a decrease of 1 percentage point from the previous year. Measured in the number of hours spent on the cases, there were no other significant changes compared to the previous year.

Eighty-six per cent of mediation cases were closed within two months. The previous year the proportion was 88 per cent. At the same time there was an increase of 2 percentage points in the proportion of cases with a duration of more than two months. Thus, the duration of mediation cases measured in days was longer in 2012 than the year before.

Further reduction in the use of external mediators

In 2012, there was a 13 per cent decrease in the concluded cases conducted by external counselling, compared to the previous year. Mediations by external counselling thus accounted for 23 per cent of all completed mediations in 2012, compared to 26 per cent in 2011.

External mediators are lawyers, priests, social workers, psychologists or others with a 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 Family Counselling Service does not have the capacity to carry out all mediation cases by the family counselling offices. This is related to geographic and demographic conditions. However, a governing parameter was recently introduced in Bufetat whereby family offices should conduct at least 75 per cent of all mediation cases. The reduction in the use of external mediators should be seen in light of this. In 2012, 77 per cent of all mediations were conducted by family offices. Thus, "the minimum requirement" of 75 per cent is met.

In 2012, 37 per cent of all external mediation cases were carried out by lawyers in private practice, compared to 31 per cent in 2011. Regarding the proportion of mediation cases conducted by priests, there was an increase from 3 to 5 per cent. For all other types of mediation, the proportions decreased in 2012.

In all counties other than Oslo, Buskerud and Møre og Romsdal, there was a proportional reduction in the use of external mediators. The strongest decreases in the number of cases performed by external mediators were in Akershus and Hordaland.

Change in law leads to break in time seriesOpen and readClose

On 1 January 2007, mediation was also made mandatory when cohabiting couples with common children aged below 16 split up. This resulted in a break in the time series as of 2007.