In a Mediation, an independent chairperson (the Mediator) hosts and guides a conversation between the parties to help them identify and assess options in order to reach an agreement about issues that were unresolved between them (such as property division and parenting arrangements).
Mediation is now commonly used to assist parties to resolve disputes in all areas of law. It has proven to be very successful in Family Law disputes and is widely used instead of parties going to Family Court.
There are many benefits to Mediation including:
- It’s faster: Results can be achieved through Mediation within 3 to 4 weeks, whereas going through the Family Court or through lawyers alone generally takes 12 to 18 months, or longer.
- It’s cheaper: Where time is saved, cost is also spared. In most cases, Mediation at an early stage can help to reduce legal fees by tens of thousands of dollars.
- It’s Confidential: What occurs during the Mediation, and any agreement reached, can’t be disclosed to the Judge or used in Court at a later stage (subject to limited exceptions to protect people or property from risk of harm).
- You control the outcome: The structured process of Mediation supports the parties to participate in the conversation and to be directly and completely in control of an outcome which affects them.
- It’s fair: The Mediator must remain neutral and impartial (so can’t impose any judgment on the parties or force any party to speak or stay or agree).
- There’s safety and support: The Mediator must ensure that each party is in a safe and supported environment so they can participate effectively.
Mediation vs Family Dispute Resolution
Family Law Mediation is technically known as Family Dispute Resolution under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). There are special requirements under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) for the Mediator who conducts Family Dispute Resolution and how they do it in order to ensure the protection of parties.
Only Mediators who have been registered as Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners by the Attorney General are permitted to conduct Family Dispute Resolution under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
Except in limited circumstances, parties must attend Family Dispute Resolution (and have been issued a Section 60I Certificate) before they are permitted to start court proceedings for parenting matters.