Q and A

How do I start the process?

  1. Just contact us and we will invite the other party to participate on your behalf.

How long does it take to arrange mediation?

  1. Not long, once we have invited the other party to participate, we will conduct an intake assessment with each participant to work out what needs to be discussed and how the mediation is going to be conducted.The intake assessment usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes. Once the intake assessment is complete, we can arrange a mediation at a time and date that suits the participants.The entire process usually takes a few weeks. In urgent situations, the process could be completed in a few days.

What happens at mediation?

  1. When you arrive at our office for your mediation, we will take you to a quiet room (known as a ‘breakout room’) where you can wait in private until your mediation starts. We will offer you a cup of tea or coffee.Just before the mediation starts, your mediator will come and see you to make sure that you are feeling ok and ready to start the mediation.

    Your mediator will then lead you and the other parties into the room where the mediation will be conducted. Everyone involved will sit around a large conference table.

    The mediator will welcome everybody to the mediation, explain the process and discuss some ground rules.

    The mediator will invite each participant to make a brief opening statement. This is your chance to say what you would like to discuss at the mediation.
    The mediator will use the information from each party’s opening statement to prepare an agenda.

    The Mediator will then facilitate a conversation between the participants to discuss and work through the items on the agenda.

    During the mediation, the mediator will call for a break or ‘private session’. The mediator will then see each of the participants individually in their breakout rooms for a confidential chat to see how they are going; whether there are any issues that they would like to discuss away from the other participants; and, to discuss any possible settlement options.

    After the private sessions, the mediation will resume. Settlement proposals may be made and discussed.

    At the end of the mediation, the mediator will give each party a summary of any agreement reached. This can then be taken to a Family Lawyer to form the basis of any formal agreement which is to be drafted. The mediator will, if applicable, issue a section 60I certificate where parenting issues have been discussed at mediation.

Is Mediation or Family Dispute Resolution Compulsory?

  1. Under the Family Law Act, if a party wishes to file an application seeking parenting orders, unless they are granted an exemption from attending mediation (because of urgency, family violence or other risk issues) it is compulsory to attempt Family Dispute Resolution (mediation) first.

What if the other party won’t participate?

  1. Mediation is a voluntary process. Even where there is resistance, most people will eventually agree to participate.If the other party refuses to participate then in the case of a parenting dispute, the mediator will issue you with a section 60I certificate. You then have the option of initiating Court proceedings if necessary.

Do I have to attend in person?

  1. No, face-to-face mediation is only one of the many options available for mediation to be conducted.Prior to arranging any mediation, the mediator will contact each person involved and undertake an intake assessment. The intake assessment allows the mediator to find out more information about the parties and the issues that they wish to discuss at their mediation. The mediator will give an overview of the process and what the participants can expect will happen at their mediation.

    The mediator will discuss options for attending mediation including in person, video conferencing, telephone and shuttle mediation. Shuttle mediation involves the mediator moving from party to party to avoid the need for the parties to come face-to-face. Shuttle mediation can be used in person or through technology.

I have safety concerns, is mediation appropriate?

  1. In some circumstances, mediation may not be appropriate. In others, it may still be possible to conduct a mediation. How the mediation occurs will depend upon how the mediator is able to ensure that the parties’ safety concerns are met.Prior to arranging a mediation, the mediator will contact each party to undertake an intake assessment. During that process, the mediator will discuss any safety concerns a party may have.

Can I have a lawyer with me?

  1. Yes, you can bring a lawyer to mediation with you. Your lawyer’s role during the mediation will be to support you and give you legal advice you throughout the process. If an agreement is reached, your lawyer will help draft the agreement.

Can I bring a support person?

  1. It is usually best for just the parties directly involved in the dispute to attend inside the mediation room. If the other participants agree to allow a support person to attend, then they are welcome to do so. Otherwise, you are welcome to bring a support person. Your support person may wait with you in your individual breakout room.If the presence of your support person is likely to enflame the situation, then it is best that they do not attend.

What is the role of a mediator?

  1. A mediator is an impartial and neutral facilitator whose role it is to ensure that the parties to a dispute are able to raise and discuss their concerns with the other party (or parties) in a safe, respectful and neutral environment.Mediation can be challenging. At times, the mediator will reality test each of the parties in respect of their particular positions or views. However, it is not the role of a mediator to tell parties what to do or give legal advice.

    Nobody participating in mediation should ever feel pressured to agree to a particular outcome.

How is mediation different from Family Dispute Resolution?

  1. Family Dispute Resolution (“FDR”) or Family Mediation is a specialist form of mediation used in Family Law Disputes.A Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner is a mediator with specialist training and accreditation to ensure the protection of parties and children in the mediation process. A Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner must be registered with the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department.

What happens if we don’t reach an agreement at mediation?

  1. It’s a fact that not all disputes are resolved at mediation. Sometimes people just aren’t ready to negotiate, or the issues appear too difficult. Sometimes people are able to reach agreement about some of the issues, but they can’t resolve all of them.Even in these situations, mediation is never a waste of time. Often, with the passing of some time, people do reach resolution whether that is through further negotiations after the mediation or attending a subsequent mediation.

    Even when there are Court proceedings afoot, mediation may assist in narrowing the issues and reducing the costs.

    Mediation does not prevent parties from commencing Court proceedings if that becomes necessary.

We are already in Court proceedings is it too late to attend mediation?

  1. No, it is never too late to attend mediation. Even where Court proceedings have been commenced, people often still attend mediation. In fact, it is becoming more common for the Family Law Courts to order people involved in Court proceedings to attend mediation before the Court will offer them a hearing date.