FAQ: Mediation in family disputes

Published 28 Mar 2017

Whether they involve divorce, wills, child custody or another matter, family disputes are often very stressful and difficult for the individuals involved. One effective way of dealing with them is through mediation, which involves working with a third party mediator to act as a buffer and help resolve issues without having to take it before the family law court. To help you get the most out of the mediation process, here are the answers to three of the most common questions you may have going into it:

What are the advantages of mediation?

There are a number of potential benefits to engaging in mediation instead of heading straight for court action, such as:

  • Mediation is often a more cost-effective way to solve a dispute than lodging a formal legal case.
  • It can help to solve the dispute more quickly than a lengthy court case.
  • Because the mediator helps to manage this situation, it's often less stressful than trying to resolve the conflict on your own. 

Can mediation be compulsory?

If your intention is to take a family dispute before the court, there are some cases where you will be obligated to try mediation first. For example, a separating couple who disagrees over property settlement or parenting arrangements may be required to undergo mediation before they take other legal action. 

In cases such as these, you will need to obtain a certificate that proves you have attempted alternative forms of dispute resolutions such as mediation before you can proceed further. 

What happens during the mediation process?

The exact mediation process will vary depending on the situation and the individuals involved, but it is always confidential and will usually be held face to face by a professional mediator. It will often be up to the parties involved to pick a time and location to meet. The mediator will take the time to talk over the problem with you, and give both sides a chance to express their concerns before looking for ways to resolve the issue. The parties may also talk to the mediator separately and take time to talk the matter over with their lawyer to ensure any proposed arrangements are in their best interests.

Whatever stage of the family dispute resolution process you are at, it's important to consult a knowledgeable family lawyer to navigate the dispute and ensure you get the best possible result. Contact our team to find out more about how we can help. 

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

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