Family Dispute Resolution is a process by which a neutral third party called a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner helps people in conflictnegotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. The parties to the mediation control the outcome.
A Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner facilitates communication, promotes understanding, assists the parties to identify their needs and interests, and uses creative problem solving techniques to enable the parties to reach their own agreement. Unlike court or arbitration, no one imposes a solution on a party. If all of the parties do not agree to the result, the dispute remains unresolved.
Family Dispute Resolution gives parties much more control over the way their dispute or difference is dealt with and over the outcome. If negotiations are unsuccessful, family dispute resolution provides an alternative to pursuing litigation or other more formal processes. The scope for solutions is usually greater than the remedies available in courts and tribunals, or even in prolonged negotiation.
Mediation costs considerably less than litigation.
The mediation process can usually settle a dispute within a few sessions. Most mediation’s conclude or settle within thirty days from initiating the process.
Mediation statistically settles over 85% of initiated disputes.
The process of Mediation is flexible and informal. It is not necessary to have a lawyer represent you during the mediation process. However, some individuals feel more comfortable with legal representation.
Disputing parties are directly engaged in the negotiation of their settlement. Parties also enhance the likelihood of continuing their relationships by utilising mediation.
Information disclosed during mediation may not be divulged as evidence in any trial or judicial proceeding, except so far as required by law or with the consent of the parties.
Attending mediation before applying for parenting orders
There is a requirement that the parties attend mediation prior to applying for parenting orders, unless an exemption applies.
If a parent refuses to attend mediation, or both parents attend mediation and no agreement about parenting arrangements for your children are able to be reached, the family dispute resolution practitioner will issue a certificate in accordance with section 60I of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), which allows the parents to initiate court proceedings seeking parenting orders from the court.
The section 60I certificate is valid for 12 months and after this date if proceedings are not initiated in court, the parties will need to re-engage in further family dispute resolution.