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Family Law Mediation:

What exactly is mediation in family law, and how does it work?

Mediation can be a powerful tool in resolving family law disputes. By providing a neutral space for parties to communicate and negotiate, mediation can pave the way towards mutually beneficial solutions without resorting to stressful and costly court battles. At Edwards Moloney Family Law, we are dedicated to helping our clients understand and navigate the mediation process. In this guide, we’ll discuss what mediation is, how it works, and why it can be a practical approach in family law disputes.

What is Mediation?

Disputes can arise from disagreements involving two parties or more. In family law, common disputes involve property division, child custody, and financial settlements. When an agreement can’t be made between the parties involved, they may enter the mediation process. 

Mediation is the process of having a neutral 3rd party, known as the mediator, assist the disputing parties in reaching an agreement. Under the family law act 1975, parties must genuinely attempt mediation. This is especially true for matters involving children.

What is Family Dispute Resolution?

Family dispute resolution, commonly called FDR, is a specific form of mediation designed to help families navigate a separation. The goal is to assist families and participants in making plans and agreeing on future arrangements. For a complete overview of FDR, view this document outlined but the Australian government: Family Dispute Resolution:

 Key takeaways; 

  • Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a specialised form of mediation.
  • FDR is designed to help families resolve disputes collaboratively.
  • FDR is often a prerequisite before court proceedings in Australia.
  • FDR can help families create workable parenting arrangements

How does mediation work?

In Mediation, both parties must share their perspectives and engage in problem-solving conversations under the mediator’s guidance. The mediator doesn’t necessarily make any decisions but instead facilitates the discussions to help parties reach a mutually agreed resolution.

Parties will have various options available to them to ensure mediation can be held, such as

  • Being in separate rooms (known as shuttle mediation)
  • Having lawyers present
  • Or being conducted via online platforms like Zoom.

Parties will need to disclose documentation and communicate their financial position and any other relevant information. 

 This process aims to establish a safe environment for parties to openly communicate and engage in discussions aimed at reaching a mutually beneficial agreement that all parties agree to.

 Key takeaways;

  • In mediation, the role of the mediator is to facilitate open, problem-solving conversations, not to make decisions.
  • Parties can choose to conduct mediation in various ways, such as shuttle mediation, having legal representation present, or through online platforms like Zoom.
  • Full disclosure of documentation and relevant information is essential in mediation, as it creates a safe and transparent environment.

 How long does mediation last?

There is no set time limit for mediation, with the duration varying based on the issues’ complexity and the parties’ willingness to negotiate. For example, some medications can be resolved in a single session, while others may require several sessions over a period of weeks or months.

 Key takeaways;

  • The duration of mediation varies.
  • Complex issues may require several mediation sessions.

Do children get involved in mediation?

While children typically do not participate directly in mediation sessions, their needs and interests are a central focus. Sometimes, a child consultant or legal representative may be appointed to provide input to ensure the child’s voice is heard and decisions are made in their interests.

Key takeaways;

  • Children’s needs and interests are central to family mediation.
  • In some cases, a child consultant may be appointed to provide input.

What happens after mediation?

If parties reach a mediation agreement, it can be formalised into a legally binding agreement or court order. If an agreement isn’t reached, parties may choose to proceed to court. However, the insights gained during mediation can still be beneficial for future negotiations.

Key takeaways; 

  • Agreements reached in mediation can be made legally binding.
  • If no agreement is reached, parties may proceed to court

    What are the benefits of Meditation?

    Mediation brings with it a host of advantages compared to litigation. These include its relative affordability, the safeguarding of privacy, giving you greater control over both the process and its final result, and the potential to maintain amicable relationships. Furthermore, it can serve as a quicker alternative to protracted court cases.

    Key takeaways:

    • Mediation is often more cost-effective and quicker than court proceedings.
    • It offers privacy and gives parties control over the process and outcome.
    • Mediation can help preserve relationships between parties.

      EM Family Law Mediation

      Mediation can be an empowering process, offering a space for open dialogue and problem-solving. At Edwards Moloney Family Law, we’re committed to guiding you through the complexities of mediation, providing the expert advice and support you need. Our depth of knowledge and experience in mediation will help ensure that your rights and interests are always protected and your voice heard.

      For more information about our mediation services or to book a consultation, please get in touch with us today. Together, we can pave the way to a more positive resolution.

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        Members of our senior legal team are accredited Family Law Specialists. In the legal profession an Accredited Specialist is a practising solicitor who has demonstrated specialised competence in a particular area of law and has been conferred Specialist Accreditation by the Law Society under its Specialist Accreditation Scheme. Edwards Family Lawyers is a highly experienced specialist family law firm that has 3 accredited specialists working out of our offices in Sydney CBD and North Sydney.

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