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Court is not always the answer – consider your options: Mediation

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 circumstances. One of those options is Mediation.

Mediation is a process where parties attend with an impartial third party who will facilitate discussions with a view to assisting them to reach a compromise agreement.  It can occur with or without lawyers. Mediation is available in both parenting and financial matters, and in the parenting matters it can also be referred to as Family Dispute Resolution. 

To give yourself the best prospects of success, it is important to be properly prepared for a mediation, including:

  • Knowing what your rights are, and what you are legally entitled to, before entering into the negotiations;
  • In family law property matters, being clear as to the asset pool which is being divided; being aware of any taxation or duty consequences of potential outcomes; and having an idea of your borrowing capacity;
  • In parenting matters, giving consideration to any existing commitments of the children or parents, such as extra-curricular activities or work commitments, and any idiosyncrasies of any of the children, which may impact on the arrangements which can be practically implemented.

In our experience, mediation often achieves a settlement, which can be then be recorded as court orders.  The benefit to parties is that they maintain control over their own financial and parenting decisions; rather than handing that decision making power to a judge who knows neither them nor their children.  It can also result in a quicker and cost-effective resolution of the dispute.

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