Mediation in Family Law17-02-2023 | Video | Nicole Smith
At Lamrocks we always encourage couples who have separated to try and reach an agreement over their property and parenting issues, without having to refer their matter to Court.
Generally speaking, this is by far the quickest, most cost effective, and least stressful way to finalise a separation.
However, for some couples it can be difficult to communicate effectively after separation.
One of the parties might feel that their voice is not being heard or that they are unable to get their points across to their former partner and have their needs considered.
When a couple is finding it difficult to reach an agreement through negotiation, mediation might be the answer.
My name is Nicole Smith and I’m an accredited specialist in family law, an accredited mediator and arbitrator, and a family dispute resolution practitioner. Over the course of my career, I have seen first hand how effective mediation can be in helping parties reach an agreement in their family law matter.
Mediation is a process in which their case is referred to an independent third party (the mediator) who listens to each side, identifies the ‘sticking points’ in their negotiation and the options available to them moving forward, and then works with both parties to try and resolve any disputes.
By using and independent mediator with experience in family law, couples can openly discuss their issues in a safe, structured, environment.
Their lawyers attend to provide support and, during the course of the session, they are given opportunities to meet with their lawyers in ‘breakout’ sessions to discuss what has been said and any options they might want to recommend as a way to move forward.
Mediation sessions usually last for either half a day, or a full day in more complex disputes. They can also be arranged at any time during the family law process.
It is often recommended as a way to overcome a stalemate if negotiations have stalled, and couples are also required to attend mediation to try and resolve their dispute before they can refer a matter to Court.
Here at Lamrocks, we can connect our clients with an appropriately qualified mediator who has the experience and expertise required to help.
We can organise a private mediation in as little as a few weeks’ time, and we ALWAYS ensure that our clients are well prepared for what the mediation process entails and what to expect.
The relatively short lead time keeps your family law matter moving along and helps to ensure you resolve things quickly and effectively.
It is very rewarding for me personally to see the look of relief on my client’s face when - at the end of a mediation - they have reached agreement and for the first time in many months or years have a sense of what their new life may look like.
A couple of years ago, I referred two fairly young people to mediation who had separated after about five years together. They had a house, cars and superannuation and were looking to finalise their property settlement and move on.
After we had exchanged financial disclosure documents, we were able to arrange a mediation approximately 6 weeks after the first letter had exchanged between my office and the other’s parties solicitor.
With the help of one of the very experienced private mediators we recommend, the couple walked away after a three-hour mediation with not only an agreement, but they had the documents drafted and signed by them both.
The relief I witnessed on the faces of both parties at the end of this mediation made my day. Expecting a long and drawn out process, no doubt after listening to horror stories about nasty divorces, they were able to move on with their lives with certainty after only six weeks!
Mediation is usually conducted in person, but more recently during COVID we have been arranging online sessions via Zoom and other platforms which has proven to be very convenient. It has also ensured that people are not left waiting around for an in-person session.
If you are struggling to reach an agreement with your former partner, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our family lawyers. We have lots of experience in negotiating agreements and resolving disputes ourselves, as well as being able to refer you to an expert independent mediator if need be.
Contact Lamrocks Solicitors on ph: 02 4731 5688 for advice or assistance today.