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Family Mediation Dispute Resolution

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At HHG Legal Group, we’re more than just a family law firm. With expertise spanning over 100 years and branches in Perth, Joondalup, Mandurah, Bunbury, and Albany, our team excels in family law mediation and family dispute resolution. Families undergoing separation often face challenges in deciding future parenting arrangements and property division. We aim to streamline this process, reducing the stress of lengthy court proceedings.

The Role of a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

Our expert, Danielle Wilson, isn’t just any family law mediator; she’s a Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP). Danielle, along with our team, provides comprehensive mediation services to help clients navigate challenges arising post-separation. This is done with a commitment to avoiding costly and lengthy legal battles in the family court.

Understanding Family Law Mediation

When couples separate, the aftermath can involve critical decisions about property, children, and finances. The family law system, in particular the Family Law Act, encourages individuals to seek dispute resolution services outside the family court. Mediation serves as an effective alternative to court. A mediator facilitates discussions, resolving disputes by helping both parties voice concerns and reach a mutual agreement.

How Family Dispute Resolution Works

Mediation process in family law typically involves:

1.       Intake Session: Initial discussion to gauge the suitability of mediation.

2.      Introduction: Mediator clarifies their role and outlines the process.

3.      Identification of Issues: Parties explain their perspectives.

4.      Discussion: To obtain more information and determine solvable issues.

5.      Private Session: Individual discussions with the mediator.

6.      Negotiation: Parties collaborate to find potential solutions.

7.      Agreement Drafting: If an agreement is achieved, it’s documented.

While the resulting agreement isn’t legally binding, it can serve as a foundation for formal court orders or consent orders.

What are the benefits of Family Law Mediation

1.       Speed: Resolving family law disputes through mediation is faster than court proceedings.

2.      Cost-effective: Compared to hiring a family lawyer for court battles, mediation is more affordable.

3.      Control: Parties maintain control over the outcomes, ensuring they suit both involved.

4.      Reduction in Stress: Avoiding the court minimises emotional strain.

Is family mediation an alternative to court?

Mediation can be an alternative to litigation if all parties involved are willing to cooperate and reach an agreement.

However, an attempt at mediation can also be a condition for Court as the law sometimes requires parties to attend mediation before they are allowed to make a Family Court application. For example, where children are involved in a separation and parents are unable to agree on the children’s living arrangements, the law requires parents to attend mediation before they can go to Court.

Sometimes people use mediation in conjunction with the Court process to help speed it up by negotiating issues outside of Court.

What if we can’t reach an agreement?

Mediation can be attempted more than once if it is unsuccessful on the first try.

However, if mediation is unsuccessful, parties may choose to engage lawyers to negotiate on their behalf or resolve issues in Court.

Where mediation is legally required but the parties do not reach an agreement, a certificate will be issued stating that mediation was unsuccessful and allowing the parties to make an application to the Court.

Seeking Legal Aid in Family Mediation

Mediation might be a requirement before approaching the family court, especially in parenting matters. Should mediation not yield positive results, our team can guide you through the necessary steps, be it acquiring independent legal advice, engaging in family counselling, or seeking intervention from family relationship centres.

We understand the sensitivities around topics like family violence and child abuse. Our approach ensures a safe environment for all parties, with the primary focus on the best interests of the children involved.

Contacting HHG Legal Group

For those residing in Perth and its surrounding areas, knowing that professional family dispute resolution services are accessible can be reassuring. If you find yourself in need of guidance on family law matters or need to understand more about the family law system, reach out to us.

Additionally, we provide services related to child support, spousal maintenance, and property settlements. Our team is here to assist, ensuring you and your family achieve the best possible outcome.

FAQs Related to Mediation Services

Can you refuse family mediation?

Yes. You can refuse family mediation, even in situations where the law requires you to attempt mediation – such as when there are issues relating to children. However, it is important to understand that if you refuse mediation and attempting mediation is required, a certificate will be issued stating that you did not attend mediation.  If your matter goes to Court and the judicial officer thinks you should attend mediation, you will be directed to do so.

Is mediation legally binding?

If parties reach a written agreement after mediation, it is not legally binding. However, the agreement can be made to be legally binding if it is included in Consent Orders to the Family Court or included in a Binding Financial Agreement.

What is an FDPR? Are family mediators’ professional lawyers?

Family mediation can also be known as Family Dispute Resolution (FDR). FDR is conducted by a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, or FDPR.

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners are trained in mediation and negotiation, specialising in family disputes. An FDPR can be a lawyer but doesn’t have to be. Some FDPR’s have backgrounds in social work or psychology. However, all FDPR’s will be accredited under family law regulations.

In circumstances where parties are legally required to go to mediation, if one party refuses to do so or the parties are not able to reach an agreement at mediation, the FDRP will issue a certificate which allows the parties to file a Court application indicating why the mediation was unsuccessful.

How long does dispute resolution mediation take?

The length of mediation can vary depending on the types of issues the parties are having and the willingness of the parties to cooperate and negotiate. Single mediation sessions will generally be several hours but some issues will require multiple mediation sessions.

How much does family mediation cost?

The costs involved in a mediation process depend upon the individual circumstances, including the level of complexity of the issues and the willingness of the parties to negotiate. We believe in full transparency with our clients. All of our clients are fully aware of what their costs are and likely to be. We provide our clients with up-to-date information on their costs at all stages of the process.

How can HHG help?

For more information about how our we can assist you, or arrange a confidential discussion, please visit our contact page to submit an enquiry or reach out to your preferred office directly. Mediations can take place at the offices of HHG Legal Group in PerthJoondalupMandurahBunbury and Albany

Want to know more? Let’s chat.

If you have any questions about our services, please use the form on the right and one of our staff will respond as soon as possible.