Parenting and property disputes can put families under financial and emotional pressure. It can be difficult for separated couples to negotiate with each other directly and ventilate issues that have. Sometimes, people need to have a safe, calm environment in which to discuss the matters affecting them.
Mediation is a cost effective method for resolving family breakdowns and separation without the intervention of the Courts. Mediators are highly trained professionals who are impartial and don’t take sides. Mediation is also privileged i.e. nothing you say during mediation can be used in Court or shared with anyone (with some limited exceptions). Mediators do not give advice or pass judgment. Instead, they guide you through a structured process, which allows both parties to speak and be heard, while keeping the discussion flowing so you can find your own solutions.
The types of things mediation can resolve include on a parenting plan, child support, financial arrangements and property settlement without going to Court.
Working with a professionally trained mediator assists in identifying major issues, and endeavouring to find mutually beneficial resolutions. Mediation can save you time, legal fees and Court costs as well as possibly retain an amicable relationship moving forward. When you are co-parenting young children, it helps if you can both work together with the children’s best interests at heart.
Agreements reached at mediation are not automatically binding on the parties, but can be made binding if agreed and documented by a Binding Child Support Agreement, Consent Orders, Binding Financial Agreement or a combination.
Mediation may not be appropriate if a dispute involves violence that renders one party unable to negotiate freely because of another’s threats. Talk to the Mediator or your Solicitor if you have concerns. To minimise the confrontation, it is not unusual to ask for separate rooms for the mediation session. During the mediation process, you are allowed to obtain legal advice at any stage to ensure you are making an informed decision. You might have a Solicitor attend mediation with you.
For parenting matters, it is compulsory to attend mediation (with some limited exceptions) to show to the Court that you have attempted to resolve your issue.
We suggest that you consider mediation as your first course of action when faced with the breakdown of a family. Your solicitor can talk you through the process and ascertain what is best for you and your family.