Information on Family Legal Matters

Family Mediation: Everything you need to know

Family Mediation – what is it, and how can it benefit you?

A good surgeon knows when not to operate. A good family lawyer has the knowledge and experience to assist separated couples reach resolution of their disputes through Family Mediation, leaving the stress, uncertainty and expense of court as a last resort.

The mediation process can be used to reach resolution for parenting issues, the division of assets and superannuation and issues of child and spouse maintenance.

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What exactly is Family Mediation?

Family Mediation is a confidential process with an agreed, impartial and experienced mediator that assists the parties to find a solution to the areas of disagreement. Unless the situation is urgent, for asset division and spousal maintenance issues, separated spouses must demonstrate that they have at least attempted family mediation before a spouse can proceed to court.

Our trusted team of family lawyers assist you in both choosing a professional, experienced and impartial mediator and prepare you for the mediation.

What if mediation doesn’t work?

Despite the optimal conditions often found in mediation, it’s crucial to remember that a spouse cannot be forced to reach an agreement. In some cases, going to court might be the only remaining option.

It’s vital for a spouse to view court proceedings as a last resort, guided by solid business considerations rather than emotions.

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What is Family Dispute Resolution?

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is the term used for mediation involving children and parenting disputes.

Except in limited circumstances, attempting or fully undergoing Family Dispute Resolution is compulsory before a parent may apply to the Court about parenting arrangements.

The family law system encourages separated families to reach their own parenting arrangements amicably, without having a Judge decide for them, which neither parent may like.

The FDR process aims to help spouses agree on the most advantageous arrangements for the children unique to the family circumstance.

During FDR sessions, families can openly discuss the cause of conflict and explore various solutions while keeping their children’s well-being as the key focus. An impartial and accredited Family Dispute Resolution practitioner will facilitate this process. The primary benefit of the FDR session is that the parents have complete control over determining the outcomes for their children. In Court, you lose this power as the Judge decides for the parents.

Are there any exceptions to this rule?

Yes. The following exceptions can apply:

  1. You are applying to the Court to formalise an agreement
  2. You are responding to a Court application
  3. Urgent matters
  4. Your case involves family violence or child abuse
  5. One or both parties are unable to participate effectively (e.g., incapacity or geographical constraints)
  6. One or both parties have demonstrated obvious disregard for a Court order made within the last 12 months

What is the Family Court Mediation process?

The Family Court Mediation process in QLD is as follows:

  1. Mediation Referral: The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia may direct parties to attend mediation before proceeding with a court hearing unless circumstances make mediation inappropriate.
  2. Mediator Selection: An impartial and experienced mediator (for financial issues) or a qualified and registered FDR practitioner (for parenting issues) is assigned to the case to facilitate communication and guide discussions between the parties.
  3. Mediation Preparation: Before the mediation session begins, each party may meet with the mediator individually or participate in separate pre-mediation sessions to discuss their concerns, issues, and desired outcomes.
  4. Mediation Session: The length of mediation or FDR is agreed upon before it begins and may proceed for as long as it takes to resolve, hours, a day or several days. Suppose spouses do not wish to be in the same room. In that case, the mediation or FDR occurs by the mediator moving between the respective spaces and assisting the spouses in reaching a final resolution to their dispute.
  5. Drafting the Agreement: If you reach an agreement, your lawyer will assist in preparing a formal written contract that outlines the terms and conditions of the decisions made. This agreement may cover child custody, spousal maintenance, property division, and other relevant issues.
  6. Court Approval: Once the parties have reached an agreement, they may have it reviewed by their respective lawyers before submitting it to the Court for approval. The Court will assess whether the agreement is fair and in the best interests of all parties involved.

Reach resolution with our trusted Family Mediation experts

Achieve peace of mind and dispute relief by contacting us today to arrange a fixed-fee, no-obligation consultation. This meeting has no time limitations, providing you with the freedom and comfort to openly share the details of your situation and explore the best possible solution.
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