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What is family dispute resolution and why should you do it?

mediation Mar 04, 2024
Family Dispute Resolution Mediation

Facing the emotional and logistical challenges of separation or divorce can be an overwhelming experience for individuals and families. Often, the communication channels between individuals break down, and there are concerns about how individuals are going to resolve it. This is where family dispute resolution and mediation can help create a more harmonious situation. 

Family dispute resolution (FDR) not only helps create more open communication, it always allows you to maintain control of your decisions. If decisions can’t be made, then this is where you can end up in court, which can be time consuming, costly and emotionally impacting. Our mediators share when family dispute mediation or resolution can be helpful to you.

What is family dispute resolution?

Family dispute resolution (FDR) is a mediation process aimed to help parties resolve disputes in separation or divorce. It involves a neutral mediation who will give each party the opportunity to address concerns, consider alternative solutions and work towards mutually acceptable outcomes. Unless you are granted a family violence or urgent exemption, family dispute resolution mediation is a mandatory step in the family court process for separation and divorce. However, it can be beneficial even if you aren’t going to court.

Top 5 Benefits of Family Dispute Resolution

It opens up new communication channels.

Family dispute resolution mediation is an excellent way to get things started and open up new communication channels to settle the issues for individuals separating. Having a neutral third party can help both parties express their thoughts and feelings about matters, and also look at things from different perspectives. The mediator will also help parties explore different options from a non-emotional perspective, putting new options on the table. This can help you reach solutions and resolutions outside of court.

It’s cheaper than going to court.

Depending on the situation, divorce and separations can drag on in court. This will often involve legal fees for both parties to gain advice and representation for every court date, as well as strategy meetings and the like. Mediation can help you decide on matters outside of the court system, using a structured way to handle current disputes, as well as put in systems to handle future disputes that may arise also.

It’s often quicker than going to court.

In most cases, parties want to move through a separation and divorce as quickly as possible so they can move on with their life. If things are dragging on in court, you may find yourself spending months, even years before agreements can be reached. Mediators work with parties to help them overcome communication and emotional barriers to help both parties find an outcome they are happy with. While mediation and family dispute resolution doesn’t work 100% of the time, it’s a less stressful, more effective (and potentially mandatory) option to try before heading to court.

Mediation can take place online or over the phone.

Finding the time to attend court proceedings for divorce and separation can add additional stress you don’t need. You may need to find time to take off work, look after children or make other arrangements. Family dispute resolution mediation can often take place over the phone or online through video conferencing software so you can do it absolutely anywhere you’re comfortable. By being in your own environment, you can also feel secure and comfortable, allowing you to approach matters in a better headspace.

Solutions are self-determined.

Going to court can often mean the outcome isn’t one you like. However, decisions made in family dispute resolution and mediation and made between you and the other party — no one makes them for you. This means the outcome is satisfactory to you both, keeping in mind some compromise is needed by both parties. But isn’t some compromise better than relinquishing all control?

How to Prepare for Family Dispute Resolution

Being prepared for family dispute resolution will help you ensure you approach your mediation sessions calmly and feeling in control of yourself. Before attending mediation or family dispute resolution, you should:

  • Write a list of matters you would like to address and need settled.
  • Focus on long-term issues and practicality, not the nitty gritty of the wrongs committed.
  • Get legal advice before mediation to help you understand your rights and obligations.
  • Prepare to approach discussions with an open mind and willingness to compromise. 

Ultimately, family dispute resolution represents an avenue of support and hope while there is uncertainty in separation. It offers a pathway to amicable solutions and a brighter future for all parties involved. Through respectful communication, mutual understanding and a shared commitment to cooperation, families can navigate the complexities of separation with grace and dignity. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Family Dispute Resolution

What if an agreement is reached through family dispute mediation?

An agreement made in family dispute resolution or mediation is not automatically legally binding. To make an agreement legally binding, you should see a family lawyer who can put in place the relevant documentation. 

What happens if mediation doesn’t work?

If mediation is unsuccessful and you and your ex-spouse cannot come to a mutual agreement, you will typically receive a Section 60I certificate. This serves as evidence of genuine effort to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom, allowing you to continue with the family court process.

How can I find a family dispute resolution mediator?

When looking for a family dispute resolution mediation, look for an independent, accredited professional who is trained to help you work through the challenges of separation. If you need an accredited FDR mediator, our team at Aspire Lawyers would be happy to help. Book in for a free consultation today to discuss your situation and options. 

Need help with your legal matter?

Our transparent, fixed-fee legal services in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth can help you utilise the law to positively influence your future. Book a free consult today. 

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