Family Law Dispute Resolution is an emotive area of the law and an expedient resolution process with an early settlement of property and custody issues is often preferable to exposing distressed and emotional parties to the delays inherent in the litigation process in Family Law.
It is a common practice for Family Law disputes to first go to mediation in an attempt to solve any area of dispute and come to a common agreement as quickly and easily as possible. During mediation both parties are given a chance to present their case.
The session is coordinated by a mediator; a neutral person who assists the parties to resolve their dispute. The intention of the mediation is to come to a mutual agreement and avoid the expense (time and financial) and emotional stress of litigation.
If no agreement is reached the matter may have to proceed to litigation.
Family Law Arbitration
Unlike mediation, arbitration delivers a legally binding outcome, just as if the matter had gone to Court.
There is no imperative to use family law arbitration and a Family Law Court judge is not empowered to order it. The decision to undergo arbitration and subject the parties to a legally binding outcome must be agreed by all parties.
Speak to your solicitor to work out the best scenario in your case; allowing the matter to proceed to court, trying mediation as a first step to try to resolve some or all of the issues, or arbitration to give a legally binding outcome outside of the court environment.
Who performs family law mediation or arbitration?
Many Australian barristers are Members of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators. In addition to their legal qualifications and their experience in the Family Court, they have completed a course in dispute resolution in family law.