1. Divorce and Separation

FAMILY MEDIATION

Also known as Family Dispute Resolution (FDR), Family Mediation provides support to parties seeking agreement on parenting, financial and property matters after separation.

FDR is compulsory (with few exemptions) for parties wanting to make an application to the court for Parenting Orders. It is not compulsory for financial and property matters.
Parenting Plans
Property / Finance
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FDR - PARENTING MEDIATION​​

Parenting Plans

Child Focused 

Child Inclusive / Consultants

​60I Certificates

The law requires separating families who have a dispute about children to make a genuine effort to try to sort it out through family dispute resolution (FDR) before filing an application for parenting orders in court.

This requirement applies to anyone wanting to file an application with a family law court. It also includes those seeking changes to an existing parenting order. There are a few exceptions to this requirement, such as cases involving family violence, child abuse or urgency.

Unless an exemption applies, parties seeking to have a parenting matter determined by a family law court will need to file a certificate from an accredited FDR practitioner. The certificate is issued under Section 60I of the Family Law Act 1975 and is commonly known as a Section 60I Certificate.

Once an agreement is reached it can be recorded as a parenting plan. This must be in writing, dated and signed by both parents. It can include mechanisms to change arrangements and resolve disagreements. Parenting plans can be renegotiated over time if necessary.

The Family Law Act requires that the 'best interest of the child is paramount'. Our mediators ensure that mediations are always child focussed. For couples with children of appropriate age, the mediator may suggest engaging a Child Consultant for Child Inclusive mediation to give a voice to the child/children involved.
www.ag.gov.au
WHAT HAPPENS?
GETTING STARTED
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FDR - PROPERTY & FINANCE MEDIATION​​

Real Estate

Assets

Superannuation

Investment Interests

​Business Interests

The family courts require people applying for property settlements to make a genuine effort to resolve their matter before filing their application.

Separated couples are encouraged to agree on arrangements for their property without going to court. Going to court is costly, time consuming, and may not result in a decision that you agree with.

Prior to mediation, parties are advised to meet with a financial advisor and their lawyer. A statement of all assets and liabilities should be brought to the mediation for both parties to compare and negotiate.

Parties should also note that property mediation is often drawn out at the negotiation stage and often require additional mediation sessions. Therefore property is often dealt with separately from parenting plans.
WHAT HAPPENS?
GETTING STARTED
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WHAT HAPPENS DURING FAMILY MEDIATION​​

Where the parties are mediating together: On the day of the mediation, the parties (and any support person if present) are welcomed and lead to their separate breakout rooms. The parties then come together in the mediation room to commence the discussion. The room is often set out like an office boardroom, and sometimes less formal with comfortable chairs around a coffee table. There is often a whiteboard or projector screen in the room for the mediator to highlight the agenda and points of agreement.
Where the parties are mediating separately: Arrangements will be made to ensure the parties do not encounter each other. Each party will be welcomed and lead to their separate rooms. The mediator will move between rooms speaking to each party for between 10 to 30 minutes. The agenda and discussion points are noted by the mediator and presented to the other party in equal turns.
Mediation is flexible and informal. The mediator follows a process to guide the parties through frank discussions about their issues until they are ready to work together to generate agreeable options, negotiate the finer points and then put their agreement in writing. If the parties can't agree, the mediator will note the points that have been agreed so far, ready for further negotiations.​​​
  1. INDIVIDUAL INTAKE SESSIONS

    OPENING STATEMENTS

    Separate sessions with each party, usually a few days prior to the mediation taking place.

    For the mediator, its the assessment stage - is mediation the best or the most suitable solution for this dispute?

    For the parties, its the preparation stage - time to clarify their issues and understand the mediation process. The mediator can also help the parties with referrals to support services if needed.
    The mediation starts with the mediator summarising the process and setting the ground rules for the session.

    Each party then has an opportunity to make an uninterrupted statement of the issues and what is important to them.

    If a Child Consultant has been engaged, the consultant will present the conclusions of their meetings with the child/children, then leave the meeting.
  2. NEGOTIATING

    AGREEMENT

    With options agreed in principle, the finer details can be negotiated down to the point where both parties agree.

    The mediator can help with reality testing each option and commences noting down the outcomes.
    The goal for mediation is a written agreement that both parties can sign as a binding contract.

    If agreement can't be finalised, the mediator can draft a 'heads of agreement' document that can be used for further negotiation.

    In some circumstances, if the parties choose, the agreement can be made into court orders.
  3. AGENDA SETTING

    EXPLORING THE ISSUES

    The mediator summarises the opening statements and sets an agenda of the issues to be discussed leading to an agreement.

    All parties are encouraged to have their say about what is important to discuss in order to move towards resolution.

    The Agenda us usually written up on a whiteboard and referred to throughout the session.
    The mediator facilitates a frank and open discussion between the parties on each of the issues on the agenda.

    This stage often helps parties to see the other party's perspective and start to think about creative solutions.
  4. SEPARATE SESSIONS

    OPTION GENERATING

    There may be times where the mediator calls a separate session. This is usually to give the parties a chance to consider what had been said, to think about possible solutions, or just recompose if the process becomes challenging.

    These sessions are confidential so parties can use this time to discuss their concerns with the mediator and reality test options. Multiple separate sessions may be used throughout the mediation.
    The parties work together to come up with possible solutions and options to consider at the negotiation stage.

    This is where the parties can really get creative and are encouraged to 'think outside the box' for creative solutions.
PREPARING
GETTING STARTED
When tensions run high? 

Sometimes, disputes can become emotional and draining. The mediator will often call for a break where the parties with go to their break out rooms and meet with the mediator separately. These separate sessions often help to reset emotional tension and clear the mind.

Wherever there is a risk of aggression or violence, safety measures are put in place to ensure parties remain separate. The mediation may be conducted as a 'shuttle' where the mediator moves back and forth between the separated parties. In high level violence cases or where there are violence orders in place from the courts, the mediation may be conducted via telephone or video conference.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR MEDIATION

Find out about Mediation

Think about what you want

Understand your rights

Understand your responsibilities

Collect documents

Prepare your opening statement

​​It is important to be well prepared to make the most out of mediation.

Gather all relevant information that you may want to refer during the mediation session. These may include financial statements, and receipts if relevant.

At the mediation, you will be asked to make an opening statement about what has brought you to mediation - prepare to briefly outline the issues that are important to you.

Come to mediation with an open mind and preparedness to act in good faith with the other party and the mediator.

The mediation intake session is a good time to clarify any questions you may have about mediations.  The mediator will also explain each step throughout the process.

Take time to think about what you want from the mediation and what is most important to you. Also think about what might be important to the other party.

Have you sought legal advice? Discuss mediation, your rights, responsibilities and realistic outcomes with your lawyer.
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HOW TO GET FAMILY MEDIATION STARTED​​

The first step starts with a phone call or email to us. 

We won't dig into too much detail about the dispute at this stage, we need to keep impartial. But we will be happy to discuss the mediation process and suitability so you can make an informed decision about your next steps.

We can also provide information on inviting the other party to mediation. Alternatively, we can undertake this process for you after your initial intake session.

You may invite your lawyer or other support person to the mediation.
 
Your privacy is important to us and we aim to keep all conversations completely confidential and ensure we're talking to the right person when we return your call.



Call or email us today for a confidential discussion.
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