The law encourages parents and other people interested in the welfare of children to come to an agreement for arrangements for children outside of Court.
If both parents reach an agreement, the arrangement can be formally written down as a Parenting Plan or can be made into a legally binding document referred to as Consent Orders.
Mediation or family dispute resolution means trying to reach an agreement without your family law matters going to Court. Family dispute resolution services are available at any time during a relationship including before, during or after separation, or even once the Court process has begun.
They can be used to resolve disputes about parenting arrangements and also in relation to property. The term dispute resolution describes different ways people try to come to an agreement including negotiation, counselling, conciliation, mediation or arbitration. Family Dispute Resolution Services are available throughout the country and are offered free or at a reduced cost.
Alternatively, parties may choose to engage solicitors to support them through a process of private mediation.
If you want to apply to Court for Parenting Orders you will usually have to try a mediation process first, unless there are exceptional circumstances which warrant making an urgent application without having attempted mediation. Once you have tried mediation you will be issued with a certificate and this certificate will be valid for 12 months. You can directly apply to the Court without a certificate if there has been family violence, allegations of child abuse or matters of urgency.
In relation to property and financial issues, parties are encouraged to resolve their matters outside of Court. Family dispute resolution processes unfortunately do not work unless both persons agree to participate. If one person refuses to go you may need to apply to the Court to resolve your dispute. You will need to explain to the Court that you’ve asked for Family dispute resolution but the other person has refused.
At North Brisbane Law we encourage clients to reach an amicable resolution in relation to parenting and property matters in an efficient and cost effective manner. We encourage parties to engage in the mediation process so as to avoid the stress and costs associated with litigation. If you have a question about mediation processes or you would like legal advice in relation to your family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We can arrange for you to meet with one of our experienced Solicitors.