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Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) where parties can negotiate the property and or parenting terms of their separation outside of the Court. Mediation can be cost-effective, efficient, flexible, and is a viable alternative to Court proceedings.
The mediator prior to the mediation is selected by either or both of the parties and is a qualified, independent, and impartial third party. The parties which are in dispute must attend the mediation and, in most cases, they will be represented by their respective solicitors. It is also common for each party to bring a support person.
Understanding the mediator’s role is very crucial to any mediation. The mediator is there to assist the parties in their negotiations and to help facilitate positive communication.
In parenting matters (expect in certain circumstances which include matters being heard on an urgent basis) parties will be required to attend a family dispute resolution conference/mediation and are expected to make a genuine attempt to resolve their parenting dispute prior to filing their Court application. Upon the parties completing the mediation the parties will receive a Section 60I certificate.
In property matters, there is no requirement that the parties must attend mediation before filing their application to the Court.
Mediation is a serious and often highly successful process in Family Law disputes. Being well prepared for your mediation can ensure higher prospects of success, below are some of the following considerations you should use in preparing for a mediation.
It is extremely important to seek advice early on. Engaging a lawyer prior to the mediation will assist you with:
Having a good understanding of the mediation process and understanding your legal position can assist with negotiations and may help you come to an agreement a lot sooner.
The mediator may ask for each party to provide documentation/information to them prior to the mediation. It is important to ensure you comply with any request made by the mediator and ensure that documentation/information is exchanged prior to the mediation. This allows all parties reasonable time to review and consider the material.
Providing relevant documentation /information is particularly important in financial matters as the parties will need to determine the value of the assets, financial resources and liabilities in order for the mediation to be productive.
Whilst it is important to have a list of issues which are to be determined and attending the mediation with an idea of what you would like to be achieved, it is important to understand that mediation is unlikely to be successful if either party is not prepared to compromise.
Attending a mediation with your ideal outcome also consider attending with alternative outcomes. Prior to the mediation identify areas that you would be willing to concede on and know understand the areas which the other party will not concede on.
Mediations are confidential. If your matter does proceed in Court, the parenting proposals made and/or property offers which are exchanged cannot be used against either party at a later date.
Approaching the negotiations in good faith and with a constructive mindset. This will help the process and hopefully result in a successful mediation.
In some cases, it may not be possible for a resolution to be reached however, if you are successful, resolving your matter at mediation will save you time and money and most importantly will reduce stress.
The Court process is extremely expensive, time-consuming and emotionally taxing on all parties involved. Mediation provides both of the parties an opportunity to avoid this process and to reach a collaborative outcome. This will inevitably assist with maintaining a healthy and amicable relationship with your former partner which is extremely important in parenting matters.
Need Legal Help?
If you are considering attending a mediation, then please contact the Brisbane Family lawyers team at James Noble Law today for a FREE, no-obligation 20-minute consultation. To schedule an appointment with one of our Qualified and experienced and Family lawyers Brisbane.
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