The Family Law Rules now require that all prospective parties to a Family Court case genuinely try to resolve their dispute before filing any Application in the Family Court.
Before filing an Application to Start a Case, all parties must participate in dispute resolution services, such as family counselling, negotiation, conciliation or arbitration in a genuine effort to resolve the dispute. It is important to realise that many family law disputes can be settled in an amicable, fair and efficient manner. Our role as your Solicitor is to not only advise you, but to assist and guide you towards resolving your matter, other than through Court litigation,
It is a fact that very few matters (only about 4%) proceed to Trial before a Judge in Court.
It is important to realise that having your matter decided in Court can be extremely time consuming, stressful and very expensive. However, there are instances in which we may recommend that an Application be filed when negotiations are jammed or stalled.
It is important to remember that even after an Application is filed in the Court, the vast majority of those applications will settle before reaching a final Trial. The negotiation process is an on-going one.
Mediation is a co-operative problem solving process where a neutral professional assists family members in clearly defining the issues in dispute and reaching agreements that are in the best interests of the family.
Mediators are not in a position to provide the parties with legal advice. They facilitate negotiations and may provide guidance and suggestions on how the matter can be resolved. Parties can attend mediation with their partners only, or with their Solicitors.
Mediation involves appointing an independent person (usually a lawyer) who is a specialist and experienced mediator. A mediator's role is to facilitate and encourage both yourself and your partner to reach an agreement that you are both satisfied with.
The mediation process can take place through the Family Court or by the use of private independent mediators.