People refer to ‘mediation’ in many different ways.
It can be as informal as having a friend or family member helping to talk through the issues in dispute.
It can also be a formal process involving a professional mediator.
The family law system encourages separated families to come to their own arrangements in caring for their children without going to court.
This can be done in several different ways:
After a relationship breakdown, discussions about dividing property and future care for children can become very emotional. This is when people may need to use a more formal mediation process with an accredited mediator.
When disputes can’t be resolved by mediation, the matter may need to go to a court for a judge to make decisions.
Going to court is a long, stressful and expensive process. The aim of mediation is to avoid the situation reaching this point.
Many people are understandably concerned about whether mediation is suitable or will be worthwhile for them.
Where one party has perpetrated family violence against the other, there may be concerns about engaging in mediation. However, often concerns can be mitigated by the way a mediation is conducted such as by shuttle or electronically.
Some people are concerned that the other party will use mediation for a tactical purpose such as delay or obtaining information from them. If a matter is genuinely urgent, then mediation may not be suitable at the outset, but it may be so later on once the urgent issue has been addressed.
A common concern is that people believe the other party will not agree on anything and so mediation would be pointless. However, it is likely that both of you have a shared interest in not incurring unnecessary financial or emotional costs by prolonged litigation.
It is always worthwhile considering mediation and discussing your concerns or issues about the process.
It is extremely rare in our experience for mediation to not be appropriate.
Aboorva Sundar is a Family Law Meditor
Sarah Bevan is a family law accredited specialist, Mediator and Arbitrator.
Call our offices today for a confidential chat with one of our Family Lawyers.