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Mediation Services

What is mediation?

Mediation is a widely used form of alternate dispute resolution. A mediation is facilitated by an impartial, third party who is accredited under the National Mediation Accreditation Scheme (NMAS). The mediator’s role is to facilitate a dialogue between the parties by addressing each persons wants, needs and concerns. The mediation process is unique in that it allows each party to offer solutions or alternatives to their problems.
Mediation is often interconnected with the Court process, with parties often being ordered to attend either before or during litigation. Mediation is a cost efficient, timely option that allows each party to offer solutions to their problems.
The mediation process can be used throughout a variety of practice areas, including; civil litigation, family provisions claims and family law.
East Coast Law have a team of accredited mediators available to assist you with your dispute.

Family Law Mediation Services – Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP’s)

Family law mediations are conducted by accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (FDRP’s). An FDRP has extensive knowledge of the family law process and will help facilitate mediation through a child-focused approach.
Prior to commencing proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, parties must first attend mediation. Parties can receive an exemption to this obligation in limited circumstances.
If the family law mediation is unsuccessful, an FDRP can issue a s60i certificate to one or both parties. This certificate will enable the parties to commence Court proceedings.

Our Services

East Coast Law have a team of accredited mediators, FDRP’s and solicitors to assist you in all areas of dispute resolution. Please contact our friendly team to discuss engaging our mediation and FDRP services.

Mediation in Parenting Matters

Mediation is now compulsory in parenting matters. Parties must attempt mediation before they can commence court proceedings. There are exceptions to compulsory mediation in circumstances of urgency and/or family violence.

Mediation is offered by private individuals and community-based organisations (for example Interrelate and Relationships Australia).

If parenting arrangements are agreed upon at mediation, your Solicitor can then prepare a Parenting Plan or consent documents to obtain consent orders from the court.

If the matter remains unresolved after mediation is attempted, the Mediator will issue a section 60 I certificate. This is a certificate referred to in section 60 I of the Family Law Act, 1975. The issue of the certificate then allows a party to commence court action to obtain parenting orders.

Parenting court proceedings may take up to two (2) years (sometimes more) to be determined by the court on a final basis. Parties are encouraged throughout the process to reach an agreement to ensure their children’s best interests are served and the impact of the court process and parents conflict is lessened as much as possible.

Mediation in Property Matters

Although not compulsory in property disputes, mediation should always be considered before court action is commenced to save time, money and emotional stress. Property settlement negotiations may also take place by way of a round table conference, where the parties and their Solicitors have direct upfront negotiations with each other.

In a contested property matter which is progressing through the court stages, mediation is often ordered by the court. This may occur by way of one of the Court’s Registrars’ conducting a Conciliation Certificate or by an approved private mediator conducting external mediation.

If an agreement is reached between former spouses prior to or during court action, consent orders are typically prepared by one of the Solicitors. The consent orders are signed by the parties and their Solicitors and lodged with the court. The Judge (or Magistrate in the Local Court) will make orders in chambers without the need for a court appearance. The Judge, however, must be satisfied the consent orders are properly drafted and represent a fair and equitable resolution of the matter.

Sometimes if parties reach an agreement without court proceedings being commenced their Solicitor may recommend they formalise the agreement in writing by way of a Binding Financial Agreement (“BFA”) rather than consent orders. 

It is very important to obtain information and advice from an experienced family lawyer early in the settlement dispute and often it is recommended advice be received prior to, or immediately following separation.

Significant costs may be incurred by a party in an attempt to settle or negotiate a matter where the other party is not responding to those actions. An experienced family lawyer will advise you when to stop attempted settlement discussions and when to commence court action. Some people and some matters only respond to litigation. This is very unfortunate, however, it is far better to learn this sooner rather than later.

As with contested parenting matters, legal costs and delays in litigated property cases are significant. When considering settlement of a property matter a party must always take into account the costs they have incurred to date and the costs of progressing the matter further by court action. Making property settlement decisions is like making a business decision. Continuing with Court action because “of the principle of the matter” is usually a very expensive and ultimately unrewarding experience.

Experienced Mediation Lawyers

Our mediation lawyers have extensive experience in advising, guiding and representing our clients in family law mediations and family dispute resolution. We offer realistic, honest and level headed advice to our clients to prepare and guide them through the negotiation process.
We understand that the resolution of parenting matters and division of assets is often the most emotionally challenging aspect of a divorce or separation. Our approach is one of care and empathy, guiding our clients and representing their interests to ensure a smooth, efficient, and fair outcome can be reached.

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