Mediation is an alternative to litigation which can help parties reach a quick resolution. This alternative is becoming a popular option amongst parties who seek to save time and money. Mediation will allow for negotiation, facilitated by the cooperation of parties and their legal representatives.

A mediation or settlement conference is a meeting where parties to a dispute, their legal representatives, and any other appropriately qualified expert assist in resolving the matter.

Any matter of concern or relevance to the issues in dispute can be discussed at a settlement conference.

Moreover, mediation conferences can occur at any time agreed upon by the parties and can be a quick and less expensive option to resolve any issues. 

After mediation, appropriate legal documentation can be drafted to formalise settlements and all relevant outcomes.

Lawyer Assisted Mediation

A Lawyer-assisted Mediation is a voluntary process where people who have separated choose to participate in a meaningful and respectful way to resolve all financial, parenting and property issues that arise from the end of their intimate relationship or marriage.

It involves the separated parties, their lawyers and an independent Mediator who facilitates the mediation. It is safe and confidential and has a very high success rate of resolving all the issues in dispute for people.

The process requires each person to bring and be represented by their respective family lawyers to assist in facilitating the negotiations at the mediation. It is not conducted or facilitated by the lawyers, but by either a qualified Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner or an accredited family law mediator.

The process is flexible, and you and your ex-spouse can nominate the mediator who you would like to conduct the mediation. The role of the mediator is to remain impartial and neutral and allow the parties the time to discuss the terms of their own agenda. The mediator will assist in coming up with ways to resolve the dispute but will not dictate the outcome. They will also encourage and give you and your ex-spouse a reality check so that you can both decide how to come to a mutual agreement that works for both of you.

The lawyer’s role is to negotiate or advocate on your behalf and to assist you in formulating proposals and tailored solutions that work for both parties. They may raise proposals that you may have never even considered, which inevitably can suit your situation. Most importantly, your lawyer is there to provide and support you with tailored legal advice during the mediation process.

Collaborative Family Law

It is likely that you and your former partner are looking for a way to settle financial and childcare issues without going to court if you are both amicable. Collaborative family law is one way to do this.

The difference between mediation and collaborative family law is that you, your former partner and your lawyers negotiate the terms of the settlement.

The goal is to always have clear and open communication so that arrangements meet the needs of everyone involved. If both parties commit to considerate and constructive communication, a lot of time, money and energy will be saved.

However, if there are personality disorders or any type of abuse present in the relationship, collaborative family law does not resolve the needs of those involved.

It is also important to note that collaborative family law meetings do not prove that you and your former partner have attempted to resolve your relationship issues. 

How does collaborative family law work?

You and your former partner will both need your own lawyers once you both have agreed to the collaborative process.

The first step requires you, your former partner and both lawyers to sign an agreement outlining how the process will work. This agreement will state that if either party makes court proceedings, the collaborative process will end and your lawyer will no longer represent you in the matter.

Negotiations are usually settled within 5 to 7 meetings.

Benefits of Collaborative Family Law

Apart from avoiding expensive and lengthy court proceedings, collaborative family law also allows you to:

  • have control over the process and cost of your settlement,
  • avoid incorrect speculations that waste time, as legal advice is available during negotiations 
  • set a time frame to have the matter resolved,
  • communicate effectively as everyone has a common goal