Most people experiencing a family law dispute have the same concern, they do not want to go to court. Another option is Lawyer-Assisted Mediation using a family lawyer.

Going to court is beneficial in many instances, however it can also be expensive and stressful, and most people want to avoid the court pathway where possible.

We reassure our clients that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a central pillar of the Family Law System, and often a requirement before parties can approach the court and commence litigation.

One of the main avenues for ADR that we at Cominos Family Lawyers have had success with is Lawyer-Assisted Mediation.

What is Lawyer-Assisted Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process where people who have separated choose to participate in a respectful and meaningful way to resolve their parenting, financial and property disputes following a divorce or separation.

Lawyer-Assisted Mediation is mediation where both parties are represented by their respective family lawyer, and the mediation is conducted by a qualified family dispute practitioner or an accredited family law mediator.

The process is quite flexible, and the parties can nominate or agree upon the mediator who they would like to conduct the mediation.

What about Evaluative Mediation?

Traditionally, mediations were approached in a facilitative manner where the mediator did not have an active role aside from encouraging the parties to reach an agreement.

Recently, Evaluative Mediations are becoming a popular and effective approach to mediation. The main difference between the traditional approach and the evaluative approach is the Mediators role.

During an Evaluative Mediation, the Mediator takes a more directive approach and can highlight to the parties the strengths and weaknesses of their case, provide their opinion, or suggest potential solutions and outcomes.

At Cominos Family Lawyers, the Evaluative approach to mediation is our preferred method and we have found it effective in reaching agreements or settlements without going to Court.

We use experienced mediators who conduct Evaluative Mediations including previous Judges and Registrars of the Family Court, and experienced Barristers.

These tools give you the best opportunity to reach an agreement and avoid going to court.

Advantages of Mediation

1. Mediation is confidential and private.

The only people who attend the mediation are you, your ex-partner, family lawyer, and the mediator. Unlike a court room which contains many different people, only those who are involved in the mediation will be present, meaning that you have a safe, confidential, and private space to consider the issues in dispute and negotiate with the other side.

2. Mediation is cost effective.

Court can be expensive. Avoiding the lengthy court process means you avoid the costs that go with it. Going through Mediation is a more cost-effective way of finalising your matter, meaning less of the asset pool is spent on legal fees, and more is left over for you.

3. Mediation allows you to stay in control of the process and outcome.

When you go to court the final decision lies with the Judge or Registrar, and you lose control over what happens in your matter. These decisions directly impact your life and so it is important you can remain in control of the process and the decisions which are being made.

4. Mediation is less stressful than court.

The principals of ADR are to provide a safe and calm space for parties to discuss their respective positions and reach agreement. Although mediation can carry its own stressors, it is designed to be a less stressful process then court.

5. Mediation is quicker process.

Unlike the courts where it can take upwards of 2 years to reach a final hearing and several months before a judgment is handed down, your matter can be finalised faster if you and your ex-partner can reach an agreement among yourselves.

If an agreement is reached at mediation, you and your ex-partner can also sign an Application for Consent Orders to lodge the agreement with the court. Once the Orders are approved and sealed by the court, they have the same standing as a Judge- made order without having to go through the long process to reach final hearing.

The quicker your matter is finalised, the sooner you can move on with your life.

6. You can have a Legal team present with you.

Not all mediations require lawyers present, in fact there are avenues for mediation where you and your ex-partner can attend by yourselves. However, having a family lawyer present means your best interests are protected and you can receive advice during the process and outcomes.

Mediation is an emotional process, and it can often be difficult to look at things in a logical and analytical way when emotions are present. Having a family lawyer present gives you the extra protection and guidance as you navigate the process.

As you can see, there are many benefits to attending a mediation when you are experiencing a family law dispute following a divorce or separation.

Disadvantages of Mediation

1. There is no guarantee of an outcome.

In court there is a decision maker. Alternatively, in mediation there is no guaranteed outcome. However, no outcome is not necessarily a bad outcome.

Although a decision or agreement may not be reached, the mediation process allows you and your ex-partner to narrow down the issues which are in dispute between you or give you greater insight into the other person’s position.

So even though an agreement may not be reached, mediation can open lines of communication which lead to resolution.

2. Mediation relies on the parties working together and compromising.

Mediation relies on the principles of compromise and the parties working together to reach an agreed position.

If one party is not willing to compromise or attends the mediation without wanting to negotiate in good faith, it could result in the mediation being unsuccessful.

3. It may take more than one mediation to reach an agreement.

Sometimes the issues in dispute may not resolve in one mediation and may instead require multiple attempts at mediation to resolve the matter.

Should I use a Lawyer-Assisted Mediation?

Yes, as you can see, there are many benefits to Lawyer-Assisted Mediation.

Plus using an Evaluative Mediation approach, the likelihood that the mediation is successful is increased.

Our family lawyers can prepare you for the mediation and guide you through it.

Contact us about using a Lawyer-Assisted and Evaluative Mediation to settle your family law dispute and case. 

About Us

Cominos Family Lawyers (CFL) was established in 2010. Since this time, we believe in a world where people divorce and separate with dignity, respect, and care.

We help clients located across Sydney, New South Wales and even Overseas. It is our mission to deliver clear, timely and relatable advice for all our clients.  You will feel. Safe. Supported. Reassured.

We can be contacted, via emailing info@cominoslawyers.com.au or calling 02 8999 1800.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this article is intended for general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice.