The conciliation process has been used to resolve financial disputes in the family court system since 1975. To advocate effectively for clients within this process, lawyers need to possess knowledge and skills across two domains: first, legal and procedural and, second, dispute resolution. This article draws together academic, court and practitioner perspectives to set out a best practice approach to preparing for conciliation conferences, using the four-step approach of the court to property adjustment as a guide. We discuss how to effectively use knowledge of the advisory dispute resolution process that conciliation represents, when preparing clients and planning negotiation strategy, to maximise settlement outcomes.

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