Resolution Pathways | Separation & Divorce Conflict Resolution Is Possible
When you have separated from your spouse or partner and cannot agree on any of the following issues:
- Time with the kids
- How you will divide your finances and property
- Who will stay in the family home
- The terms of a private Child Support Agreement
Or any other family law related disputes, you will benefit from becoming familiar with the avenues available to get to a resolution.
There are four key ways our team help people with separation or divorce conflict resolution. We help people find a way to reach a suitable agreement about their finances and parenting matters through these methods:
- Court Proceedings
At every stage in this process, our family lawyers assist our clients in the manner they wish it to be conducted. If you want to avoid Court, we will do everything we can to avoid this occurring.
SEPARATION & DIVORCE CONFLICT RESOLUTION PATHWAYS
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Separation & Divorce Conflict Resolution pathways
The collaborative process is an approach used only when both parties commit to avoid going to Court and wish for the outcome to be mutually beneficial.
In addition to the support of a collaboratively-trained family lawyer, other professionals trained in this process such as child consultants, financial advisors or other individuals are included to form a team, to help you reach your mutual goal, and resolve issues peacefully.
The Collaborative Process is one that is less costly and time consuming than the Court process, but is also one that not everyone will be suited to. There must be intent from both people to embrace the process and be willing to work together with their former spouse or partner, to make decisions and reach an agreement.
You may have already begun negotiations with your former spouse or partner in relation to parenting, property or other issues. If you cannot come to an agreement, it is helpful for you to have a family lawyer communicate and negotiate on your behalf.
Our family lawyers are effective negotiators who can educate the other party about what is likely to occur in the event your matter is to go to Court. This is done on your behalf via letters to your former spouse or partner, or to their lawyer if they have one. When we communicate and make them aware of the laws, costs and other risks attached to not reaching an agreement early, this can be very helpful in getting the other side to come to an agreement sooner than they might otherwise have.
If negotiations break down, the next step is to attend a Mediation.
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is compulsory by law. It is an avenue designed to support people who are in conflict, to resolve their family law-related disputes relating to children. It is compulsory to complete FDR, such as mediation, before any family law matters can be heard in Court. Although this process is compulsory, some exceptions are made for cases involving domestic violence, child abuse or anything else that is classed as an urgent matter or unsuitable for FDR. Mediation is not mandatory for disputes involving property only however, we highly recommend FDR to reduce costs and to reach an amicable agreement.
Mediation is a form of Family Dispute Resolution. It is the process where you and your former spouse or partner meet, with the help of a neutral party (known as a mediator), with the intention of coming to an agreement during that mediation. The aim of mediation is to facilitate and establish effective communication between you both, which is especially important if you have children.
Disputes that are commonly resolved through mediation include child custody disputes, child support disputes and financial and property settlements. Mediation is a stop-gap designed to help keep any decision-making about your assets and the time you have with your children, between you both, without the need for someone else (a Judge) to make the decision for you.
Mediation creates an environment in which you can both express your views on the issues and desired outcomes, with a mediator to manage and assist to keep the mediation on track. You can attend mediation alone or seek advice beforehand to be aware of what is in your best interests (and the best interests of your children) and about what you should agree to, or not agree to. Alternatively, you can opt for a lawyer-assisted mediation, which is where you can have your lawyer on hand to seek advice from, throughout the meditation.
When at mediation, you both must make a genuine attempt to resolve the issues.
You can avoid going to Court by reaching an agreement through mediation. However, there are necessary steps to be taken afterwards and depend on whether were able to reach agreement during the mediation.
If you both agree on a resolution, you can make it legally binding by applying to the Family Court for Consent Orders. Alternatively, you may wish to make an informal Parenting Plan or enter into a Binding Financial Agreement. If you do not reach an agreement, then an application can be made to the Court and either person can begin Court proceedings. This can be done through filing an Initiating Application to ask the Court to make Orders.
Upon the conclusion of a mediation, the mediator will issue a certificate, known as a Section 60i Certificate. A parenting application cannot be filed with the Court without this certificate.
This certificate will detail the outcome of the mediation, indicating whether:
- The person did not attend Family Dispute Resolution, but that the person’s failure to do so was due to the refusal or failure of the other party to attend;
- The person did not attend Family Dispute Resolution because the practitioner did not think it would be appropriate to conduct a mediation;
- Both parties attended Family Dispute Resolution, but one or both of them did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issues;
- Both people started Family Dispute Resolution, but during the process the practitioner decided it was not appropriate to continue; or
- Both parties attended Family Dispute Resolution and made a genuine effort to resolve the issues in dispute.
If the mediation fails or does not proceed for the above reasons, the next step is to apply to the Court for Orders.
This is where a Judge will assess your circumstances to determine the outcome for your parenting arrangements and/or property settlement.
Sometimes family law matters need to go to Court to be resolved. Sometimes applying to the Courts can be a strategy used to assist in the progress of a matter.
Depending on which family law matter you are going to Court for, will determine what is involved.
For more information about going to Court, go to this dedicated page here.
Separation & Divorce Conflict Resolution
Regardless of how you and your former spouse or partner are progressing with your discussions, it is advantageous to be familiar with how the law applies to your specific family circumstances, before committing to any final decisions. If you are ready to engage someone to assist you through your resolution process, or you are seeking only some initial advice to help you move forward with your negotiations independently, reach out to our team. Our goal is to help you move through this challenging time in the best way possible. Our team can assist with a separation or divorce conflict resolution method to suit you and your circumstances.
SEPARATION & DIVORCE CONFLICT RESOLUTION
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