There is a lot of media coverage on the current strain being placed on the family law court system. Families are waiting for 2 to 3 years to have a Judge finally determine their matters. Not all matters need to go to court though. At Mullane & Lindsay we look at other options which are available, and suitable, to your particular circumstance. One of those options is Arbitration.
Arbitration is a process in which parties present arguments and evidence to an Arbitrator, who then makes a determination to resolve the dispute. In family law, the Arbitrator must: be a legal practitioner; be an Accredited Specialist in Family Law, or have practiced primarily in family law for at least 5 years; and have undertaken training and accreditation in Arbitration.
Currently, only financial matters can be arbitrated; it is not available for parenting matters.
The benefits of Arbitration is that an Arbitrator must deliver the Arbitral Award within 28 days of the conclusion of the Arbitration. The award can then be registered with the Family Court, at which time it takes effect as a court order. While the Court retains power to reverse or vary the award in certain (warranted) circumstances, the parties will generally be able to resolve their dispute much quicker than if they were engaged in drawn out litigation.
The Family Law Courts are actively promoting the availability of Arbitration, and have set up a Specialist National Arbitration list so parties needing court directions to facilitate their Arbitration or register awards can receive early attention.