This is a difficult area. It is difficult for the parties and it is difficult for the professionals who are engaged to assist the parties. It is a challenging area close to our hearts and this makes this type of dispute very difficult indeed to resolve.
The Judges of the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court do the very best they can however the majority of these disputes are better dealt with outside of the court system, allowing the parties themselves to have control of the outcome. There are many occasions where the adversarial process of the court system serves to only entrench the parties in their dispute. Sometimes one or both of the parties have dysfunctional personalities, which drives their pursuit of a result from a Judge when that forum is not the appropriate one.
Mediation allows the parties to work through the issues to an end result. Sometimes this may require a number of sessions as the issues in dispute are narrowed.
With the right mediation process and the right mediator this can be achieved, and where children are involved in particular that is by far the best option. The adversarial process can and often does result in the children being involved, more often than not to their detriment.
In the family law context mediation is called family dispute resolution.
An appropriately trained family dispute resolution practitioner can mediate all matters such as children’s issues, financial and property adjustment, spousal maintenance, and child support.
Children’s issues include the arrangements for parenting of children when couples separate. The mediator can assist you with identifying issues that are keeping you from resolving arrangements for the care of the children, exploring ideas to find common ground while always focussing on the children and help you agree on a framework you can all live with. This can be done by way of a Parenting Plan or Terms of Settlement which are then made into court orders.
Children’s issues must be mediated before the commencement of court proceedings except in limited circumstances. If the matter needs to go to court a party needs to obtain what is called a Section 60I certificate.
It is not compulsory to mediate property disputes before the commencement of court proceedings. Family dispute resolution can take many shapes.
Family dispute resolution can be done face to face, telephone, shuttle face to face and shuttle telephone. It can be done over a couple of sessions or an intake session with each party and one reasonably long session of around 3 hours.
It is a flexible and fluid process and it needs to be. It is undertaken in a safe and supportive environment.
Family dispute resolution may be conducted by one mediator or it may follow a co mediation model with one female and one male mediator.
Grandparents and or other significant interested parties may be engaged in the process.
Child inclusive practice may be arranged.
The resolutions reached are sustainable and you may return for further sessions if required.
If court litigation has commenced it is not too late to bring the matter to a well-qualified and experienced mediator.
Our practice provides all of these services.
Family Law Courts Website – http://www.familylawcourts.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/FLC/Home
Family Relationships Online Website – http://www.familyrelationships.gov.au