It is a common misconception that litigation is the only way to formally settle a separation or a divorce where properties or children (or both) are involved. However, under Australian Family Law, families are encouraged to attempt to settle their concerns through Mediation.
Mediation is a form of guided negotiation that provides the parties with an avenue to work out a resolution for their dispute. This negotiation, which can be composed of one or more sessions, is guided by a neutral mediator, who is a family dispute resolution practitioner registered with the Attorney-General’s Department.
What are the Benefits of Mediation?
Benefit #1: An equal level of control for both parties.
Because Mediation allows both parties to agree on a resolution, each party is directly involved in negotiating their own agreement. No court will impose a settlement and long list of requirements upon you. Instead, an agreement is issued by your mediator that reflects the middle ground that both parties accepted.
Benefit #2: Your privacy is respected.
As mentioned, a mediation is guided by a mediator. A mediator is an accredited practitioner who is required to be impartial while assisting both parties to ensure the progress of the negotiations.
It is paramount that all information discussed with the mediator is confidential and will not be used in court proceedings nor disclosed to the other party of the Mediation unless consent is provided by the party to disclose this information to the other party.
Benefit #3 - It is voluntary.
A mediation can only proceed if both parties voluntarily accept to go through negotiations. Although the process itself is designed to emphasise the importance of communication, either of the parties may also opt to withdraw at any time.
Benefit #4 - It is less expensive.
An adversarial litigation can cost you thousands of dollars and can take months or even years, depending on the complexity of the matter. Mediation, however, would cost a few thousand per session. Fortunately, a mediation often takes just one day to settle, although depending on the complexity, some cases may take a few days or months.
Also, as this is a preferred process by the law and is advocated for the benefit of those involved, costs can be controlled and eased.
Benefit #5 - It is an informal alternative compared to going to Court.
A mediation process may have a standard procedure designed to maximise efforts and increase success rates, but it remains an informal venue to settle family disputes. Hence, it also provides a place of comfort that encourages positive discussion over a dispute.
Benefit #6 - It is an informal alternative compared to going to Court.
As the mediator is mandated to help both parties find common ground and look for options on how to move forward, the mediation process can benefit both parties compared to the win/lose approach in litigation that can affect positive relationships, moving forward.
At Coonan & Coonan Legal, we are nationally accredited mediators and registered family dispute resolution practitioners. If you require meditation or family law advice, contact the team at Coonan & Coonan Legal on 1300 001 298 or book an appointment on our website www.coonanandcoonanlegal.com.au