Talk is cheap in family law

Save time, money and stress by seeking mediation for divorce and separation. New program shows impressive results for couples willing to negotiate.

Many couples that decide to part ways believe the only way to legitimately settle their dispute is by going to court. The thinking that drives this belief is not only untrue; it can be extremely costly to both parties and can drag out your matter over a long period of time, which prevents parties from obtaining the closure they require. Based in the Brisbane CBD, DA Family Lawyers has seen first-hand the financial and mental strain unnecessary court attendance can have.

An innovative new program introduced by the NSW Legal Aid system at the Parramatta courthouse has seen very promising results for couples wanting to settle their disputes out of court. Mediation is a way where a separating couple can meet in the company of an Accredited Mediation Practitioner with the purpose of negotiating toward a settlement, which is agreed upon by both parties.

Why Mediate?

The Legal Aid program is designed to divert couples from the courtroom to the negotiation table, where they are encouraged to take ownership of their decisions so that the agreed outcome is mutual.

The concept is born out of the identification of a large number of cases that enter the court system without collaboration with lawyers and/or mediators. It was common that the opposing parties had stern and sometimes unrealistic viewpoints on what they thought was fair or acceptable. As a result, no matter the decision made by the court, one or both of the parties were unsatisfied with the outcome.

On the other hand, some cases were simple enough that court intervention was not required to settle the matter. Either way, the majority of family law cases that enter the court system use limited legal resources and can be lengthy, costly and emotionally draining.

How is mediation effective?

Mediation is effective from the main principles of negotiation and seeing reason. The process operates by looking at the scenario from a different perspective, from a stance of compromise and understanding. This process is guided by the mediator. If parties have unrealistic perceptions of what they think they should receive, the mediator will help them communicate in a way that see’s reason in their argument.

For example: if the husband  wants 55% of the assets and the wife also wants 55% of the possession; there is a 10% skew in the reality of what is fair to both parties. In this example, the mediator’s job is to present the scenario in a way that allows the parties to agree on a settlement that represents a 50/50 share.

This approach allows the parties to take whole ownership of the outcome by making and agreeing to the decision with mutual understanding. This being one of the stronger reasons for mediation; the decision can either be made by those with a vested interest or by a judge in court.

The Result

Since 2007, the mediation process for Family Dispute Resolution is a mandatory step when seeking parenting orders. The new Legal Aid family dispute resolution program for has demonstrated a 93% success rate out of the 264 mediations conducted at the Parramatta court.

Deborah Awyzio of DA Family Lawyers Brisbane is a dedicated mediator and family dispute resolution practitioner, who can assist parties in resolving their family law matters. With over 16 years’ experience working exclusively in family law, Deborah is also a member of the Australian Mediation Association, which is a nationally recognised panel of accredited mediators.

Book your mediation with Deborah and experience how mediation is the most practical, low-stress way to settle your family dispute.

Source: Nicola Berkovic, The Australian.