FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Mediation is actively encouraged by competent Family Lawyers, the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court (formerly the Federal Magistrates Court) all of whom have embraced the importance of providing parties with an opportunity to achieve an agreed settlement and in doing so minimize the damage (both financial and personal) that ongoing litigation and continued and unabated conflict inevitably causes.

The advantages of mediation include:

– No restriction on when you mediate, therefore timing is flexible;
– Mediations enjoy a high success rate;
– Significant and ongoing legal and associated expert’s fees can be avoided and/or minimized;
– You control the outcome as opposed to having a decision imposed upon you;
– Greater flexibility in solutions are available through mediation as opposed to litigation;
– The uncertainties associated with the litigation process are avoided;
– Ongoing damage to you, your former partner and your children is minimized;
– Enhanced prospect of you as parents being able to effectively co-parent your children as a result of conflict being resolved earlier;
– The opportunity to achieve an agreed outcome in a consensual and dignified manner;
– You have complete control over the outcome – you will not be forced to do anything;
– You can get on with your life sooner!

A process which encourages parties to take responsibility for making their own decisions in a controlled process which encourages negotiation and allows parties to promote their own interests and thereby adjust their positions and views in a common effort to achieve a mutually acceptable outcome.

Ultimately it is a form of “assisted negotiation” involving an experienced and independent person (mediator) whereby parties are encouraged and assisted to find a solution to their problem/s which meets their interests and needs. The mediation is potentially the most significant event post separation given the high likelihood of an outcome being achieved.

“The problems that exist today cannot be solved by the same thinking that created them” – Albert Einstein 1879-1955.

  • Approach the process in a positive and conciliatory way (remember you control the outcome);
  • Do not be adversarial or confrontational;
  • Turn you mind to various compromises and anticipated responses/issues of the “other side” – use that insight to assist you to tailor your response towards achieving a desired result;
  • Be prepared and undertake the necessary disclosure to enable meaningful discussions to take place;
  • Brief the mediator with the documentation/mediation summary well in advance of the mediation date so as to ensure that an appropriate opportunity is afforded to the mediator to understand the issues and difficulties with your matter;
  • Put aside the entire day for the mediation and have a “Plan B” for the collection of children from school etc and their care in case the mediation goes longer than anticipated;
  • If you propose to retain real estate and pay your former partner out, investigate the likelihood of funding to enable you to achieve this;
  • Do not lose sight of commercial realities when considering possible outcomes;
  • If you have any questions about the process or the manner in which I conduct mediations please telephone me. I am only too happy to answer any questions you might have.
Yes. I am a Registered Dispute Resolution Provider and am empowered to issue S60I Certificates in appropriate circumstances.
In the event of an agreement being reached, Heads of Agreement will be drafted and signed by both parties on the day of the mediation. The Heads of Agreement record the terms of the settlement in broad terms which will then need to be drafted by your lawyer into a Consent Order or Financial Agreement (as the case may be) so that your agreement is formalized and enforceable.

Rule 1 – let me know if you are uncomfortable and why you feel that way so that I can try to ensure that you are not disadvantaged – your lawyer is also there to assist you;

Remember that it is not uncommon for a “desired outcome” to be challenged at mediation. Importantly, you will not be forced to do or agree to anything that you do not wish to; however it is important that when making decisions you are assisted in making “informed decisions” which achieve both a realistic and commercially acceptable outcome;

When I have a “private meeting” with you and your lawyer everything we discuss remains confidential other than that which I am specifically instructed to convey to your former partner and legal representative. These meetings afford an excellent opportunity for you to voice your concerns and to enable discussion with you and your lawyer to examine those concerns and assist you in appropriately and, in all the circumstances, comfortably moving forwards.

I am very conscious of “power imbalances” which can exist between parties and continually try to tailor the mediation process to enable parties to achieve an “equal bargaining position”.

Whilst as a mediator, I can provide you with information; I can not give you legal advice. Given that Family Law is a specialist area of practice, it is preferable that you have a lawyer to assist and guide you through the process;

I understand that cost can be a factor and am happy to conduct mediations without lawyers present if need be.

Importantly, you should remember that the mediation might very well lead to a compromise being reached which in turn will save you considerable money, emotional turmoil, health issues and angst about you future. Therefore, the money spent on having your lawyer attend to advise and assist you in finding a solution might prove to be an extremely wise investment!

Most mediations regarding parenting arrangements are “child focussed” mediation which only involve the parties, their lawyers and the mediator. The focus is to achieve a parenting arrangement which best meets the needs of the children taking into account, amongst other things, the ages of the children, their respective developmental needs, the abilities of the parents to effectively co-parent, practical considerations and the like.

“Child inclusive” mediations share the same principles of “child focussed” mediations. The difference is that the former involves the parties and the children consulting separately with a social scientist prior to the mediation with that social scientist attending the mediation and providing feedback to the parties as part of the mediation process. Given that the social scientist possesses considerable experience in dealing with separated parties and their children in a family law context, their input together with the mediator provides parties with considerable information and guidance in their efforts to achieve an outcome which is sustainable and in the best interests of the children.

“Child inclusive” mediations whilst more expensive provide parties with considerable insight into what is happening for their children amidst the turmoil of separation and thus better equips them to make informed decisions.

“Child inclusive” mediations are not suitable for all parenting disputes and therefore discussion should be had with your lawyer and the mediator to ascertain which process would be suitable for your family.

Check the online calendar for my availability. Please phone or email to book in the date: 07 3353 6081 or robgrant@galaw.com.au.