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Mediation

Family Law Mediation

People involved in Family Law disputes are encouraged by the Family Court to resolve their disputes without going to Court or to a Judge to decide. 

There is a general expectation by the Court, that people in dispute will attempt to resolve disputes by compromise, discussion and Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) if it is safe to do so. The Family Court of Australia states that you should always obtain legal advice as to the options available to you and which options will best meet your needs. 


What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process where the people involved in a dispute are assisted by an independent third party to help resolve their dispute. In Family Law disputes, a Family Mediator works with you, assisting you to reach agreement after separation or divorce. This may include negotiating a parenting plan, orders, or a family law property settlement. 


Why do I need a Mediator?

Sometimes, communication between former partners breaks down towards the end of a relationship or marriage. 

In addition to the emotional process that is separation or divorce, it can be difficult to sit down and have a positive discussion with your former partner towards a functioning future relationship. 

A Family Mediator is trained and experienced in assisting separating couples to arrive at sensible solutions that work for their future. Family Mediation is essentially a bridge between former partners, helping you both to work through communication difficulties that may have prevented you from reaching a family agreement on your own. 


What Qualifications does a Mediator have?

A Family Law Mediator should be qualified as a member of the Nationally Accredited Mediators or Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners. 

Family Law mediators must have a University Degree in Law, Pyschology or Social Work, complete an approved course, and undergo a period of supervision and continuing professional education. 


Can the Mediator give legal advice?

Whilst the family law mediator might be a qualified family lawyer, they cannot give family law advice to either party. 

To be completely neutral and fair, your family law mediator cannot give you or your former spouse legal advice. 


Do I have to attend Family Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process, therefore you cannot be forced to attend. 

However, the Family Law Act requires you to attend Compulsory Mediation (otherwise known as Family Dispute Resolution) before you can make a parenting application to the Family Court for custody orders.

Family mediation is a great way to resolve parenting issues and minimise the impact of divorce on your children. 

Mediation offers many other benefits over a Hearing by a Judge, including:
  • Time: ordinarily a dispute can be resolved more quickly through mediation than through a trial.
  • Cost: if a dispute can be resolved through mediation, the costs of preparing and running a trial can be avoided. 
  • Flexibility: mediation offers parties more control over the outcome. A mediation process which is customised to your needs can be arranged with the mediator.
  • Stress: mediation is less formal and less intimidating than appearing in court.
  • Confidentiality: mediation is private. The judge is not informed of the contents of the mediation. It is also usually unable to be used against a party if the case goes to trial. The Court recommends you discuss mediation confidentiality with your lawyer.
  • Satisfaction: because the parties decide and agree on the outcome of their dispute they are more likely to be satisfied with the result and to comply with what has been agreed.
  • Finality: settlement agreements can usually only be modified with the agreement of all parties.

There are some exceptions to compulsory family dispute resolution, such as when there are issues like domestic violence or abuse and a safe environment cannot be provided.

If you are worried about your safety attending family mediation, or you are uncertain about whether an exemption from compulsory family dispute resolution applies to you, contact us to discuss your situation. 


Do I need to see a Family Lawyer?

The Family Court of Australia states that you should always obtain legal advice as to the options available to you and which options will best meet your needs. 

That being said, you can attend mediation alone. 

With years of experience under our belt, we feel obligated to tell you that it is really important for you to speak with an experienced family lawyer, who will give you advice about family law property and financial settlements. 

In order for the agreement reached at mediation to be approved by the Family Court, it is necessary to get advice from an experienced family lawyer prior to mediation. 

Click here for more information about our fees and pricing. 


Your First Appointment

Your first meeting with us is a low fixed-fee of $220 (including gst), payable at reception at the conclusion of your appointment.

We keep the cost of your first appointment low so you get to meet us before you choose us. This fee includes an hour long appointment with an experienced lawyer, plus a 15 minute follow up phone call from that lawyer a few days later, once you have thought about the advice given, and what you want to do next.

To speak with an experienced family lawyer about your situation is the best thing you can do. It really is worth finding out as much as you can about what happens in a separation. Do not put off coming to see us because you don’t think it’s worth it. It is always worth discussing your situation and your options with a lawyer.

In this first appointment, we can give you an idea of what it would cost you if we represent you. 

Click here for more information about our fees and pricing. 


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07 4772 5155


Jodi Dingwall

Solicitor

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Emma Donald

Solicitor

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