Family Law Mediation
Family Law Mediation Specialists, Melbourne
Are you getting divorced or separated in Australia?
Our expert family lawyers at Melbourne Law Studio can help you through the family mediation process. Using mediation to come to an agreement, we will help you have more control over the process and avoid a painful court battle.
The situations when you need family mediation can come during incredibly sensitive times. For this reason, our expert team wants to help every client find a fair and level-headed agreement.
First, we can sit down with both of you across a table and help you reach an agreement informally. That is the best-case scenario. When informal mediation has not worked, couples often turn to the more formal Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) process. Our FDR-accredited practitioners lead this type of mediation.
Most divorcing couples need an FDR certificate to apply for a Parenting Order from a family law court (see the Factsheet). FDR is a common form of family mediation in Australia. In some cases, a judge may order a family court mediation process.
What Should I Expect From the Family Mediation process?
During family mediation, a mediator or FDR practitioner helps the separating couple talk over their issues and come to an agreement. The goal of the mediation process is to avoid court proceedings. It allows the couple to reach an outcome that benefits and satisfies both of them.
The mediator serves as a neutral third party. They facilitate the process without taking sides or making decisions. By encouraging the participants to talk openly and honestly, the mediator helps them identify the areas where they disagree. This person also points out available options and ways to fair compromises. The mediator helps keep the focus on the needs of everyone involved, including the children.
Through mediation, participants can reach an agreement on decisions regarding:
- Parenting and parental responsibilities
- Property and estate
- Spousal maintenance
- Child support
The mediation process tries to help a couple or family find common ground. Its goal is to reach an agreement in a calm, non-hostile environment by using open and focused communication.
What Our Family Law Mediation Services Include
Our divorce lawyers in Melbourne offer separation and child custody mediation services. We will help you reach the best outcome while reducing legal fees and saving you valuable time. After reaching an agreement, we will help you confirm it through a consent order or parenting plan. That way, you will not need to go through the emotional turmoil of court proceedings.
To start the process of mediating a dispute, contact us to schedule an initial consultation. This meeting will be free of charge. During your first consultation, one of our family law solicitors will consider your options. Then we will advise you as to whether mediation is the best option for resolving your dispute.
The mediation process usually occurs as a joint session. You and the other participant(s) are present in the same location.
However, in some cases, your situation may warrant a “shuttle mediation.” In this case, the mediator will talk to each party individually through video conferencing or in separate rooms.
During mediation, your role is to listen and consider all settlement terms and offers carefully. If you do not understand how a particular offer may affect you, be sure to consult with your lawyer before accepting, rejecting, or countering the offer. You or your lawyer can also ask the mediator to clarify.
While mediation aims to avoid going to court, you should never accept an offer if you do not feel comfortable with its terms. The decision to accept an offer is yours alone. Neither the mediator nor your lawyer can make decisions on your behalf.
If you at any time feel overwhelmed during mediation, family law allows you to take a break. You can also let the mediator know if anything is making you feel uncomfortable or intimidated. Then, the mediator can take care of the problem.
At Melbourne Law Studio, we’ve got your legal concerns covered. Book your free 15-minute consultation today to see how we can help.
To prepare for mediation, schedule a meeting with your lawyer to draw up a memorandum for the mediator. The memo should contain all the information that the mediator needs to know about your case, including the mediation objectives. You should also prepare the first offer and make a list of non-negotiables.
How many mediation sessions you will need will depend on various factors. These include how many issues you want to resolve, how complex they are, and the nature of your relationship with your divorcing spouse. The willingness of both people to step away from conflict and resolve the issues in a friendly way is a significant factor.
A state-registered mediator in family law is an independent practitioner who meets the accreditation standards of a family dispute resolution (FDR) practitioner under the Family Law Regulations 2008. Family law mediators can mediate disputes for independent firms or family relationship centres.
Whether or not a mediator has legal knowledge depends on their background and the type of disputes they mediate. Most family law mediators are qualified lawyers or barristers. However, some mediators have a background in psychiatry or mental health.
Even if mediators do not come from a legal background, they should be able to give information about family laws and regulations. However, remember that mediators are impartial, so they do not give legal advice during mediation.
Family law mediation can be successful even if there is a history of drug abuse or violence. However, the mediator needs to make sure that all parties feel safe during the process. The partner who has a history of drug abuse also needs to stay sober. They should be able to understand what the decisions they make will mean for them.
If one party feels intimidated by another, the mediator can arrange a shuttle mediation, meaning communication with each person will be conducted separately.
Ideally, mediation should start as soon as the couple agrees to resolve their dispute outside of court. If you are not sure whether your divorcing spouse is willing to go through mediation with you, schedule a free consultation with a member of our team at the Melbourne Law Studio. You can call us on (03) 9021 1421.
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