What is Mediation?
The Australian Mediation Association defines mediation as ‘a process by which a neutral third party called a mediator helps people in conflict negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement.’
Mediation is essentially a ‘tool’ in our ‘toolbox’ of ways to resolve family law disputes. We would usually start with negotiation, which means that we can contact your former partner or their lawyer, and try to come to an agreement in this way. If this is inappropriate for your situation, or we are unsuccessful, then we might suggest mediation.
In the Family Law Act, mediation (or ‘Family Dispute Resolution’ as it is referred to) is a compulsory step before a matter involving children goes before the Court.
The Benefits of Mediation
The benefits of mediation in a family law dispute include that the process is more affordable than litigation (having your dispute resolved by a Court). The cost is often shared equally between the parties. Mediation is usually more time efficient than litigation, with most mediations reaching a settlement within a few sessions. According to the Australian Mediation Association, mediation statistically settles over 85% of disputes. Even if your matter does not get resolved fully, mediation is usually helpful to help narrow down the issues, saving time and money at Court. One of the major benefits of mediation is that the process is informal and flexible. The mediator can help the parties come up with more creative solutions to problems than a Court. Any information that is disclosed during a mediation is not allowed to be used in Court.
The downside of mediation is that the mediator cannot bind the parties to a solution. However, the agreements reached at mediation can be made into Consent Orders after the mediation, so they are enforceable by a Court.
Why Come to Sydney Divorce Lawyers for your Mediation?
At Sydney Divorce Lawyers we work with highly experienced family law mediators. They are adept at managing the strong emotions and communication difficulties which are usually part and parcel of a family law dispute. We are well versed in arranging and representing clients through the mediation process, as well as converting the agreements reached in mediation into Court Orders.
At our conveniently located offices near Town Hall station, we have the following facilities to ensure your mediation goes as smoothly as possible:
Large mediation facility, refreshments and food and beverages, video conferencing facilities and private rooms.
We also recognise that mediation is not always appropriate for all clients. This holds true especially if there is a large power imbalance, abuse or the relationship has deteriorated significantly. If necessary, we can arrange ‘shuttle’ mediations.