Q: ‘Why should I participate in mediation or a dispute resolution conference?’
A: That is not the question you should be asking us.
More appropriately it is ‘why wouldn’t you participate in mediation or a dispute resolution conference?’
Mediations or family dispute resolution conferences allow you to have greater control and certainty over your agreement or outcome. This is in contrast with an outcome imposed by the Court. A high percentage of parenting and property settlement disputes resolve at a mediation.
The Family Law Act provides that parents or other parties to a parenting dispute, must participate in family dispute resolution (FDR) – section 60I. There are certain exemptions to this compulsory dispute resolution, such as family violence. Please contact us at Parry Coates Family Law for further direction about FDR and the exemptions which may apply to your case.
In a parenting dispute, generally an application cannot be made to the Court without the parties participating in FDR. There may be circumstances when we attend your FDR mediation with you. For example, if the mediation is organised by the lawyers as opposed to a mediation arranged by the parties themselves.
Similar to a parenting dispute, the Court in a financial dispute will not allow a matter to be listed for a trial unless the parties have participated in and made a genuine effort to resolve their dispute by mediation or dispute resolution conference..
At Parry Coates Family Law, we understand the mediation process and the preparation required to ensure your mediation is valuable. We will:-
- Prepare a schedule of the assets, liabilities and superannuation benefits to understand the net property pool;
- Collate your financial documents and arrange for mutual financial disclosure. Please see the Duty of Disclosure brochure released by the Family Court of Australia.
- Liaise with the other parties’ solicitor to ascertain whether experts are required to value any property. For example, real property or businesses;
- Liaise with your accountant and/or financial advisor to determine the existence of taxation or CGT implications arising on the division of certain assets;
- Conferencing with you to determine your ideal outcome and assess, with your accountants, whether this outcome is achievable. Preparing ‘draft’ terms of settlement based on our discussions – having a working document ready to finalise the matter;
- Attending the mediation with you.
There are mediations where an agreement is not obtained. If this occurs, we do not take the view that the mediation has therefore been a waste of time and resources. During the mediation, information has been provided and the other parties’ case has been outlined. We are in a better position to further assist you in gathering together the necessary evidence to counter argue the other parties’ case and strengthen your case.
"Rebecca is very professional and understanding. Her experience in family law gives you confidence and support during a very difficult time. I highly recommend her."