Reaching a Family Law Agreement Without Court Intervention
One of the most common fears and misconceptions surrounding the family law system today is that every separating couple has to attend a Court to finalise their divorce, divide their assets, and make arrangements for where the children will live and how much time they will spend with each parent.
Thankfully, there are options available for couples to negotiate an agreement between themselves - without the involvement of a Court - particularly when there is no history of domestic violence or if the separation is a mutual decision.
Mediation and Family Dispute Resolution
Mediation and Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) involves a couple working with an independent and accredited mediator /FDR practitioner to discuss their conflicts, and then negotiate an agreement concerning issues such as where the children will live and how much time they will spend with each parent.
Through mediation, couples can often reach an agreement on many aspects of their child's day-to-day life, such as education and schooling, health care and religion etc, and by having these agreements put in writing, they can often avoid any future potential conflict.
Mediation and Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is now compulsory for all separating couples who have children. In fact, before any case involving children will be heard by a Court, the parties involved must prove that they have attempted to resolve their issues through FDR first, and be able to provide a certificate from an accredited FDR practitioner to show that this is the case.
What about couples who don't have children?
For couples who don't have children, mediation can offer a useful way of resolving disagreements regarding property and assets, and working out an appropriate and fair division of property. Unlike Court determined orders, mediation gives each party a chance to 'have their say' and the agreements reached by the parties are tailored specifically to suit their individual circumstances.
Whilst it is not yet compulsory to attend mediation if there are no children involved in a family law matter, it gives couples a chance to discuss their issues in a calm and supportive environment, then work out the best solution for them.
Why Choose Mediation?
Mediation offers couples more control over the decisions that will affect them in the future. Whether it is working out a suitable parenting arrangement or who will receive the furniture and cars, mediation allows each party to be involved in the decision making and negotiate an agreement that suits them both.
For couples who have significant assets or family businesses involved, mediation also offers a private process - as opposed to an open court room - for them to resolve their issues. Details of any mediation remain confidential at all times and are not disclosed, subject to certain exceptional circumstances, even if the matter ends up in Court at a later date.
For more information on mediation and family dispute resolution contact one of the family lawyers at Lamrocks Solicitors. They will be able to advise you whether the process may be suitable in your situation.
Need a Mediator and FDRP?
Simone Thomas, an experienced family lawyer and manager of the family law team at Lamrocks, is also a fully accredited Mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. She offers a complete independent mediation and FDRP service at competitive rates and is available to assist with your mediation needs (you don't even have to be a client of Lamrocks Solicitors).
Unlike many other services in the local area, we don't have long waiting lists and mediations can generally be booked at the earliest convenient time for both parties - either at Lamrocks' offices in Penrith or at a venue to suit you. To book a mediation session, contact Simone at firstname.lastname@example.org.