Family mediation can help resolve difficult disputes. To find out more about this process, speak with a mediation expert at Michael Lynch Family Lawyers.
Resolving a family dispute isn’t always easy. Relationship breakdowns are filled with conflict, and you may find yourself deadlocked in disagreement. If you and your partner have recently separated, we can help speed up the settlement process through family mediation.
What is Family Mediation?
Family mediation involves you and your former partner sitting down with an independent third person (a mediator) for the purpose of discussing the legal issues of your settlement. It is important to understand that mediation is not counselling. The mediation process gives you both the opportunity to set out your proposals, consider options and attempt to reach a mutual agreement.
What Issues Can Mediation Help Resolve?
Mediation can deal with all sorts of conflicts. These are some of the most common disputes dealt with in family law mediation:
- Property settlements
- Parenting plans
- Intergenerational conflict
- Child support disputes.
Family mediation does not always result in a settlement of all issues. However, it can be useful in helping you understand where the other person is coming from. If you’re unsure whether the conflict you’re dealing with is suitable for family mediation, contact us. We can help you decide the most appropriate method of negotiation.
What is the Family Mediation Process?
Choosing to undertake mediation is relatively simple. The process involves the following steps:
- Speak to your solicitor and decide if you would like them to be in the mediation with you.
- There are different mediation styles, the most common are either ‘roundtable’ or alternatively, ‘shuttle’ mediation. You should speak to your family lawyer to decide what style would best suit you.
- Upon meeting with the mediator, both parties are taken through the Agreement to Participate in Family Dispute Resolution (this sets out the guidelines for participation in the mediation).
- Both parties are asked to describe the issues that need resolving. Their unique perspectives are taken into consideration during this step.
- Using the issues described by each party, the mediator creates an agenda.
- Each issue on the agenda is discussed. Both parties are allowed to discuss their concerns while also suggesting resolution options.
- If both parties can come to an agreement, that agreement should be documented. It is a question for each situation as to how best to document and who should prepare it.
What are the Benefits of Family Mediation?
Taking a family dispute to court is often a drawn-out and expensive process. Compared to going through the legal system, family mediation can save you time and money. Court fees tend to escalate quickly, whereas mediation is much more affordable. Scheduling just one court hearing can take months, so if you’re looking for a quick resolution, family mediation may be a more appealing option.
Family mediation also gives separated couples the chance to find common ground, allowing them to resolve disputes before they get too heated. This can be especially beneficial in cases involving children.
Family Mediation FAQs
Q. Are there any disputes that are not suited to family mediation?
A. Family mediation is not suitable where there are issues of domestic violence or where a ‘power imbalance’ exists between the parties.
Q. Does the mediator have the power to decide the most appropriate resolution?
A. It is not the mediator’s role to make final decisions. It is their job to oversee the process and facilitate negotiations. They cannot overrule any party involved in the mediation.
Q. Do I have to attend family mediation?
A. Not if you don’t want to. Family mediation is voluntary.
Q. Can I request a private meeting with my mediator?
A. Separating couples may not always feel comfortable raising certain issues in front of their former partner. For this reason, it is possible for either party to request a private session with their mediator. It should be noted that the most common form of mediation is the ‘shuttle’ conference, where parties are in separate rooms and don’t see each other.
Q. How do I prepare for mediation?
A. Make sure you understand what the process involves. You should also seek legal advice and understand what the legal issues are and what your position is in relation to them.
Q. Is family mediation confidential?
A. Any information offered during a family mediation session is usually confidential. It can only be used elsewhere if you give permission or if the information discloses a risk to someone else.
Q. Where does family mediation take place?
A. You can either undertake family mediation in a Family Dispute Centre or a private mediation, at a location of your choosing.
Speak to One of Queensland’s Largest Family Law Firms
If you need assistance with arranging mediation, contact our family law firm today. Our lawyers can help protect your rights and responsibilities during the mediation process. This will ensure you achieve optimal outcomes, allowing you to move forward with your life.