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Dispute Resolution and Family Mediation

Mediation in Family Law

These days many Family Law disputes are resolved following a dispute resolution process called ‘Mediation’.

With so much pressure on the resources of the Family Courts system it can take a long time to get a decision, not to mention the expenses and uncertainty that goes with a long running court case. Alternative dispute resolution (‘ADR’) options like mediation make a lot of sense – both financially and emotionally.


Family Dispute Resolution

There is a particular type of mediation in family law called ‘Family Dispute Resolution’ and the mediators in such cases are called ‘Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners’ (‘FDRP’).

If you and your ex are engaged in a dispute over parenting arrangements it is a good idea to use a mediator who is also an FDRP. Aside from the fact that they have received special training to focus upon children’s best interests, in most cases you need a certificate from an FDRP before you can start court proceedings concerning children.


Types of mediator

A mediator is a person who acts almost like a referee in a dispute but not quite. They don’t make any decisions but rather they will encourage you to decide an outcome for yourself.

Some mediators have a huge breadth of knowledge applicable to the subject matters of your dispute and they may try to assess how the case will finish if it is decided by a judge. They are called ‘evaluative’ mediators because they use their skill set to advise you about likely settlement ranges which often encourages parties to settle along those lines.

Other mediators may adopt a ‘facilitative’ approach. All this means is that they are skilled in encouraging parties to consider their situation fully and to generate options around what might work. They are good at guiding people towards resolving their own disputes.


What happens at mediation?

This very much depends upon your circumstances and the preferred process of the mediator. If family violence or any intimidation is feared then the parties themselves may not even see each other at mediation.

However it is quite common for all parties and their legal representative (if any are appointed) to attend an initial meeting with the mediator. The mediator will start by explaining the ground rules – for example, except in certain very specific circumstances, mediation is confidential and matters discussed cannot be later referred to in court. After the mediator has finished setting the scene, then each party, often through their lawyer, will set out their position and then the groups may move to different rooms for all or part of the rest of the day.

The mediator will usually talk with each party and the legal representatives through the day and, depending upon his or her style, will encourage the making of settlement offers which can then be relayed back and forth.

It is often a long and emotional day but when a resolution can be found it is usually a far better result than having to wait at best many months and many thousands of dollars for an outcome you don’t decide for yourself.


Help with your Family Law mediation

At Bell Legal Group our dedicated Family Law team have extensive experience in mediation and can help you work towards the right resolution for your parenting and or property matter.

Call us on 07 5597 3366 or fill out the ‘Contact Us‘ form below to find out how we can help you.


Please note the information on this web page is general in nature. It is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

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