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What Is A Lawyer’s Role In The Family Mediation Process?

5th May 2020 Legal Advice
If you have recently split up with your significant other and are in the midst of going through a divorce, you will likely need to make arrangements for your future moving forward. However, this may be a difficult task, especially if there has been a breach of trust, resulting in a hostile relationship. If you're looking for a safe environment to discuss your plans, the family mediation process can help you.  

What Is Family Mediation?

Family mediation forms part of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes that are available to disputing individuals. In its simplest form, family mediation is where an independent third party, known as the mediator, encourages discussion between the two disputing parties in order for them to reach an agreement that is mutually accepted.   In family-based scenarios, specifically marital relationships, the mediator can help you work out arrangements relating to issues such as:
  • Parenting arrangements for your children (if there are any) post your breakup
  • Arrangements for children to stay in touch with their extended families such as grandparents, cousins and aunties/uncles 
  • Child support payments
  • Other financial and property arrangements (home, savings, superannuation, debts, vehicles)
Additionally, the family mediation process can help parties stay in control of the situation and only agree on a decision when they are both satisfied. The mediator will explain how the decision agreed upon can be made legally binding. If you have a previous decision in place, this can also be the time to make adjustments where needed, particularly where children have grown up.

Advantages Of Mediation

  • Cost-Effective

If you can resolve your dispute through the family mediation process, then the costs associated with litigation can be avoided.
  • Confidential

The family mediation process is private and confidential. This means the judge is not informed of the substance of the conversations and if the case does go to trial, it can generally not be used against you. However, it is in your best interest to discuss this confidentiality with your lawyer.
  • Provides Satisfaction To Parties Involved

Since parties have decided to reach and agree on an outcome for their dispute, they are more likely to be satisfied with the results. In comparison, when parties go to court, a decision is made on their behalf. This may leave one or both parties feeling dissatisfied and less likely to comply with the terms that have been outlined. 

Role Of Lawyers

Although the family mediation process is a highly popular resolution, It is important to remember that it cannot substitute independent legal advice that a lawyer is able to provide you with. Lawyers can help you understand the law and give you advice relating to your legal status. Once an informal agreement has been drafted during the mediation process, each party's respective lawyer will go through the agreement and draw it up in its final form to give it legal effect. If legal advice has not been sought before the mediation date, the agreement can contain a clause to only effect it once parties have obtained advice from a lawyer. Family mediation is a popular process used in scenarios where there has been a breakdown in familial relationships. In order to promote healthy healing and compliance with agreements, it is crucial to seek independent legal advice in conjunction with the mediation process.  If you're looking for family mediation services, then why not get in touch with us for a free initial 30 minute consultation on (03) 9670 7577 or at admin@oxfordpartners.com.au for more information.

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Please contact us on 03 9670 7577 or by email at admin@oxfordpartners.com.au to speak to one of our solicitors today.