Family Law Mediation – Family Dispute Resolution

WHAT IS MEDIATION?

Family law mediation is when you and your former partner attempt to resolve any unresolved disputes with the assistance of a neutral third person, known as a Mediator or Family Dispute Resolution Provider.

Separated couples must attempt mediation for their family law disputes before commencing legal proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

You can use family law mediation to reach agreement on parenting issues, property disputes, spousal maintenance, child support or other dispute between you and your partner from whom you are separated – this can be any financial issue such as rent, living expenses, division of property between you, the time that the children spend with each parent, which parent is to decide on which matters and any other issues.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of matters. The best way to ensure that your matter is appropriate for family law mediation is to contact our team.

If you are considering mediation to help resolve your family law related matters and have come here seeking more information, then you have come to the right place.

BENEFITS OF FAMILY LAW MEDIATION

Mediation is the best alternative to Court proceedings (which is called litigation) and often provides much more value.

People who have been through the Family Court process often say that they wished they understood how worthwhile the mediation process was in the moment.

Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Less expensive than going through the Court process
  • Less formal and intimidating than the Court process
  • Faster than resolving matters through the Court; and
  • Mediation can empower co parents to communicate and negotiate more effectively for the long term; and
  • Mediation gives people more control over the outcome of their dispute than in the Court system where a Judge decides.

OUR MEDIATION SERVICES

Mediation can assist with reaching an agreement about a range of family law matters including:

  • Parenting issues of where the children live and who makes which decisions as to children.
  • Property Division – of all assets owned by both parties including Superannuation.
  • Child Access Agreements.
  • Spousal Maintenance Issues.
  • Child Support Issues.

Where an agreement cannot be reached, our Mediator Walid Kalouche may issue S60(i) certificates enabling you to proceed to Court.

We also offer:

LEGALLY ASSISTED MEDIATION SUPPORT

That is, our family lawyers provide support and advice in the lead up to your mediation, as well as at the mediation itself.

MEET YOUR MEDIATOR

Walid Kalouche

Walid Kalouche is a registered Mediator (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner) since 2008 well respected by other family law professionals and is regularly sought out as a mediator for family law disputes.

We understand that it can be difficult to make a decision about selecting the right people to help you which is why we would like to make it a bit easier for you.

If you decide to work with us after your initial appointment, we will credit the cost of the appointment towards your fees, essentially making your initial consultation free. This is our way of demonstrating our commitment to providing excellent service. We also offer fixed fees for some services as well as convenient payment options. Ask us for more information about these options in your first meeting. We look forward to assisting you.

COSTS OF OUR MEDIATOR SERVICES

Each dispute is different and the costs will vary accordingly. 

Further some mediators have less or more experience and others have experience in parenting issues whilst others have experience in Financial Issues.

You will be glad to know that our mediator, Walid Joseph Kalouche is well versed and experienced in both financial and parenting dispute mediations.

The mediator (FDRP) will charge for:

  1. Intake assessment – this is between 30 mins to 1 hour per person to participate in the mediation.
  2. Mediation fee – the cost of conducting the mediation and this is usually per session of half day or full day. Sometimes multiple sessions are booked if there is apparent progress and goodwill between the parties in the mediation.
  3. CALL us on 02) 9687 6000 to book an initial consultation about mediation or to obtain a quote on the fees for your specific matter.

THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A FAMILY LAWYER AT MEDIATION

There are several benefits to involving a family lawyer in your parenting or property mediation.

Our team can prepare you and provide great insight into how the mediation process works.

We assist you by advising you on what a Court might consider an appropriate outcome, based upon which you can decide on what is being offered to you at mediation.

We help people prepare for mediation by sharing our knowledge and experience to assess what the other side is offering you and ensure that any deal you reach is the best outcome for you and your children (if you have them).

Most importantly, our clients value us being there during the mediation itself as we can help keep you grounded when your emotions are running high. Having your family lawyer on hand can give you peace of mind and clarity about how you should proceed (or not proceed).

WANT TO BE INFORMED AND WELL PREPARED FOR YOUR MEDIATION?

Want to have peace of mind about what to agree to (or not agree to)?

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FAMILY LAW MEDIATION

Generally speaking, this is what you can expect on the day of your family law mediation.

  • The mediator, you, your former partner and your respective lawyers will meet (unless there is family violence involved) and the mediator explains what to expect from the mediation (if they haven’t before the day of the mediation).
  • If there is a history of Family Violence, mediation often occurs via shuttle where the victim does not face the perpetrator so as to avoid a power imbalance in the mediation leading to unwanted outcomes.
  • If it is not shuttle mediation, you will meet around a table (physical or digital via webcam) and discuss your interests, brainstorm any potential solutions, discuss possible solutions and reach agreement if possible. You may have your family lawyer with you on hand so you can seek advice about what to agree to and what not to agree to. Your family lawyer is an invaluable resource to have on hand at a family law mediation.
  • The mediator will move between the rooms and bring offers back and forth until you and your former partner reach agreement (or the day ends). 
  • In the event that you and your former partner reach an Agreement, the mediator and the lawyers will draw up relevant Court documents so the Agreement can be signed and eventually filed with the Court and made into what are called “consent orders”.

WHO CAN ATTEND THE MEDIATION?

Typically, the people who attend a family law mediation are the mediator, the parties, their legal representatives (if invited), their support persons (if approved by the mediator) and any interpreter that is required.

HOW LONG DOES A FAMILY LAW MEDIATION TAKE?

This will depend on the issues in dispute, the level of conflict, the mediator, the lawyers involved and the willingness of you and the other party to reach a settlement.

However, typically mediations are no shorter than a half day or a full day. You may require more than one day if there are issues in dispute across a number of areas. For example, parenting issues may be mediated one day and property mediation on a separate day.

HOW MUCH DOES A MEDIATION COST?

Mediation fees are varied. You will need to enquire with your mediators to seek up to date pricing. Advice from your lawyer is charged separately from the mediator’s fee. In most cases, each party will be asked to pay one half of the costs of the mediator.

WHAT HAPPENS IF AN AGREEMENT ISN’T REACHED AT MEDIATION?

If you and your former partner cannot get to an agreement, another mediation may be required or if a party wishes, they may commence legal proceedings. Every type of dispute is different in family law, due to the unique circumstances. If you have not completed mediation successfully, reach out to our team. We can advise you of the options available to you.

While you can do mediation without the support of a family lawyer, we recommend you involve your family lawyer so you can seek advice in the moment.

We understand that it can be difficult to make a decision about selecting the right people to help you which is why we would like to make it a bit easier for you.

If you decide to work with us after your initial appointment, we will credit the cost of the appointment towards your fees if you retain us thereafter , essentially making your initial consultation free. This is our way of demonstrating our commitment to providing excellent service. We also offer fixed fees for some services as well as convenient payment options. Ask us for more information about these options in your first meeting. We look forward to assisting you.

WHERE TO START

STEP 1:
SEEK LEGAL ADVICE ABOUT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES

The first step is for you to seek legal advice about the issue or issues in dispute.

Although you technically do not need a lawyer to participate in a mediation, our support is beneficial as an experienced family lawyer will:

  • Assess the issues in dispute.
  • Identify potential issues that you may have not considered.
  • Give you a reality check (with their insights into family law).
  • Unpack the possible outcomes that you may be able to expect from a mediation.
  • Guide and support you through the mediation process.

STEP 2:
APPOINT A MEDIATOR

You and your former spouse or partner will need to choose a mediator. After you reach a consensus, a date for the mediation will be set. If we are not assisting you with legally-assisted mediation, Walid Joseph Kalouche is a well respected Family Law Mediator. Reach out to our team to have an initial consultation with him.

STEP 3:
ATTEND A PRE-MEDIATION CONFERENCE

Next, you and your legal representative will attend a pre-mediation conference with the mediator. This may be on the phone, online or in person. This is called an Intake Assessment.

In the pre-mediation conference, the mediator will explain to you what the mediation process involves and ask you what you hope to achieve from the mediation.

Generally, the other party and their legal representative will attend a separate meeting. However, this will depend on the mediator.

STEP 4:
ATTEND THE MEDIATION

On the day of the mediation, the mediator will set ground rules and explain how important confidentiality, neutrality and open communication is in mediation. You and your former spouse or partner will then have the chance to communicate what you hope to achieve from the mediation.

The mediator will assist you and the other party to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement. This will involve you putting an offer to the other party via the mediator and vice versa until an agreement is reached.

If you and the other party reach a settlement, the mediator and the legal representatives will put your agreement in writing, at which time the settlement will be legally binding. However, if you and the other party come to an impasse, the mediator may recommend that you set another date to continue your negotiations before legal proceedings are commenced.

Mediation can be an incredibly powerful way to resolve disputes. Avoiding Court is not always possible however, mediation is truly the most cost-effective method to resolve matters.

If you embrace this method of alternative dispute resolution, mediation can give you greater control and help you to resolve your dispute faster.

To learn more about how mediation can resolve your dispute, reach out to our team.

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