Expert Advice & Solutions For Mediation From Brisbane Family Lawyers
Mediation is a process where the parties involved in a dispute are assisted by a Mediator (a qualified neutral third party i.e. generally a lawyer or barrister) to help resolve their dispute.
It usually occurs in a shuttle format meaning that the parties are seated in separate rooms, and the mediator ‘moves’ between the two rooms to facilitate negotiations. Parties can be represented by a lawyer at mediation however this is not mandatory.
Mediations generally occur over the course of a single full day, however, in some circumstances multiple mediation sessions may be required/preferable.
The Court has the power to order parties to attend mediation and before a trial occurs, the Court will generally require the parties to have attempted mediation.
- listens to each of the parties;
- assists the parties to identify common ground, issues in dispute, each party’s goals and the options available to them to resolve their issues;
- cannot provide legal advice to the parties;
- can provide their view on the dispute, if requested;
- is appointed jointly by the parties or the Court.
The goal of mediation is to assist the parties to reach an agreement and finalise their family law case, and avoid/end court proceedings. Reaching an agreement requires both parties to make compromises and concessions.
Mediation can occur without court proceedings being on foot or during court proceedings. In some circumstances parties can commence the mediation process before physical separation occurs.
Mediation can help the parties to reach agreements on:
- property settlement matters (interim or final);
- parenting arrangements (interim or final);
- spouse maintenance;
- child support issues;
- contravention/ compliance with existing orders.
The key to a successful outcome in a mediation is preparation. This involves:
- identifying common ground;
- identifying issues in dispute;
- ensuring valuation matters have been attended to prior to mediation;
- ensuring that you have both complied with your disclosure obligations prior to mediation;
- having obtained advice from a family law expert lawyer about what the likely range of outcomes would be if the matter was to be determined by a court;
- being very clear on your goals, best case and worst case scenario in advance of mediation; and
- for property mediations, having discussed a Balance Sheet with the other party prior to mediation.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement during Mediation, they can:
- continue to negotiate after the mediation;
- go to Court and ask a judge to make a decision for them.