What is Mediation, Family Mediation or Family Dispute Resolution? Very simply, mediation, family mediation or family dispute resolution (FDR) is a process that helps two parties have a conversation … Read More... about Family Mediation
What is Mediation, Family Mediation or Family Dispute Resolution?
Very simply, mediation, family mediation or family dispute resolution (FDR) is a process that helps two parties have a conversation about specific issues or concerns, with a view to reaching mutually acceptable agreements.
The Family Law Act
In Australia, the Family Law Act (1975) dictates that where children are concerned, parents must utilise mediation as a method of resolving their dispute prior to proceeding to Court. In these matters, a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) who is accredited by the Federal Attorney-General will undertake the mediation. If mediation is not deemed by the practitioner to be suitable in your individual circumstance, or if no agreement is reached at mediation, a Section 60 I certificate can be issued to allow the matter to proceed to Court.
What is Family Mediation or Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)?
There are a number of reasons why many families prefer mediation over the Court process.
In mediation, you are the one who decides on the topics for discussion and you are the one who decides if any proposed solutions could work for your family. In Court, a Judge decides what is best for your family, based on who makes the best legal argument on the day.
At mediation, it is assumed that you know your family best and that together, you and your ex-spouse know your children best.
Mediation is by far, much cheaper than legal action. Mediating with Co-Parenting for Your Kids can cost as little as $600 each. Just the preparation of the documents required for Court could cost more than 10 times that!
In the Federal Circuit Court of Brisbane, it is not uncommon for parties to wait more than a year, from the initial date paperwork is lodged to finalisation of the matter. Co-Parenting for Your Kids currently have a time frame of between 3 and 6 weeks from initial contact to mediation day.
Mediation is confidential in as far as the law allows. Mandatory Reporting exists for all professionals working with children, so any concerns for the welfare of your children will be reported to the relevant authority. Outside of this, nothing that is discussed in mediation is able to be used in future Family Law proceedings. The Court MAY consider a Parenting Plan, but does NOT have to enforce it if the matter eventually ends up in front of a Judge.
Talk to anyone who has been through the Family Law Court system and they will tell you how hard it is. It’s not just that the Court system is adversarial by nature, or that waiting such a long time for someone else to make a decision about your family is stressful and agonising. It’s also about what is lost.
Mediation offers parents a means of making decisions in a respectful way, where each person’s view is acknowledged. Mediation gives each party an opportunity to create a different kind of relationship with their ex-spouse. You’re no longer partners in life, but you are still joint parents of your children. Mediation is one way that this relationship can be preserved or even improved.
It’s generally accepted that people are more likely to stick to an agreement they had a hand in creating. If you prefer more security than an informal agreement, there are ways to turn your mediated agreement into a Court Order (refer FAQ – what’s a Consent Order).