Reasons why you might need family mediation
Using an impartial third-party to help you resolve a family-related dispute can be a great way to come to a mutual agreement without the need for expensive court proceedings.
From child support issues to property disputes, there are many possible reasons why you might want to engage in family mediation.
To begin, let us explore what family mediation is.
Alternative dispute resolutions (ADR)
Family mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR refers to any methods used to settle a dispute outside of court. The most common methods are mediation, arbitration and negotiation. There are several benefits to ADR that you are unlikely to receive from going to court. These include:
- Faster results
- Flexibility; and
- Empowers all parties involved.
Family mediation involves engaging with the opposing party in discussion related to your disputes in the presence of a qualified, neutral mediator. The mediator will help the parties work towards specific goals and outcomes and reach an agreement.
Matters which can be resolved through family mediation
Some of the family law matters that can be resolved through mediation include:
Property-related disputes such as property settlement agreements (“who gets what” following a separation) and interim property distribution arrangements can be handled using family mediation. Deciding how to distribute assets after a separation can be challenging, but it is definitely achievable. Having a mediator and a legal expert present can help both parties decide upon the best solution.
Spousal maintenance refers to the financial support paid by a party to their former partner in the situation that their former partner is unable to financially support themselves. Several factors are considered when determining whether or not spousal maintenance should be paid, such as:
- Property, income and financial resources
- Ability to work
- Age and health; and
- If the separation has affected one’s ability to earn an income.
Spousal maintenance disputes may be able to be resolved via family mediation processes.
When parents separate, arrangements must be made for the continued financial support of their children. Parents will have different financial obligations to their children. Child support issues such as unpaid payments may be able to be resolved in mediation.
During a separation there are many issues which need to be addressed; parental arrangements are one of the most pressing concerns for those with children. Coming to an agreement on arrangements such as who the children will live with and how often each parent will see their children can be difficult. Yet these agreements are necessary for the wellbeing of the children involved.
Before going to court over parenting disputes, family mediation offers an effective means of coming to a resolution. In the majority of cases, parenting agreements can be made through family mediation, with this then being made legally binding by a lawyer. This ensures that the best interests of the children are put first and that emotional stress is minimised.