So You Can't Reach A Family Law Agreement - What Happens Now?
So you and your ex-partner have tried come to an agreement after separation in respect of parenting, property or both but you haven't been able to do so. The next question you will more than likely ask it 'What now?'. That's a good question which we are about to answer for you.
Prior to answering that question, however, we will say the following about mediation in parenting and property matters:
- Parenting - Parents are required to participate in mediation prior to making any application to the Court for parenting orders. This requirement is contained within the Family Law Act 1975.
- Property - It is not mandatory in property matters for parties to participate in mediation prior to making any application to the Court for property settlement.
You've decided it's time to commence the medation process.
You will need to decide whether you wish to participate in lawyer assisted medation or non-lawyer assisted mediation. We will explain the difference later in this article.
Once you have made that decision, you will need to contact a medation service to ascertain their availability and the cost of the mediation.
You will need to advise the mediation service whether you wish to participate in lawyer assisted or non-lawyer assisted medation. In most cases if the parties are represented by Lawyers and an agreement has been reached to participate in Lawyer assisted mediation, the Lawyers will make the arrangmeents for the mediation.
If the parties are not represented and wish to participate in mediation then it will be up to the parties to make those arrangements.
So what is the difference between Lawyer Assisted Mediation and Non Lawyer Assisted Mediation?
Non Lawyer Assisted Mediation
Parties attend a mediation without the assistance of a Lawyer. The process is conducted in the same way as Lawyer Assisted Mediation.
If an agreement is reached between the parties the paries are able to document that agreement. That agreement should be taken to a Lawyer and advice provided on it prior to it being signed by the parties. However, this is not mandatory. In some instances the service conducting the Mediation may allow parties to sign off on the Agreement whilst at Mediation.
Lawyer Assisted Mediation
Lawyers attend the Mediation with the party or parties. One party may attend a Lawyer Assisted Mediation without a Lawyer if they choose to do so.
The benefit of Lawyer Assisted Mediation is that the parties are able to obtain legal advice during the course of the Mediation. If the parties reached an agreement then the Lawyers, in most cases, will draft the necessary documents and have the parties sign the documents there and then on the spot which enables them to be forwarded to the Court for filing.
This saves both time and money for the parties.
If you have a Family Law Matter and you need the assistance of an experienced Family Lawyer, call Michelle Meares on 4324 7699 for a confidential chat on the phone.