Family disputes and breakdowns can understandably be very difficult to cope with. Issues like this can cause a significant amount of stress and turmoil, compounded by the need to understand and navigate the legal system for potentially the first time. People involved in family law cases may be reluctant to take the matter to court, especially when there are children involved.
Family mediation with a specialist lawyer is often a reasonable alternative that can help the parties involved to find a resolution. SJP Law on the Sunshine Coast are expert family lawyers with significant experience in family mediation. Here we look in more detail at family law mediation and why a lawyer is important during the process.
What is family law mediation?
Mediation is the process in which an impartial third party, the mediator, assists two (or more) parties to resolve a dispute without the need to resort to legal proceedings. The mediator does not tell the parties what to do, nor as they there to decide who is right or wrong. The mediator facilitates discussions between the parties and/or their legal representative to assist them to reach agreement on their own terms. Parties can attend at mediation with or without their lawyer. It is often beneficial to have your lawyer present so that you have the benefit of not only the mediation process, but also the benefit of receiving support and advice from your lawyer. Added to that, mediation is often a more cost-effective and less stressful way of resolving disputes than taking the matter to court.
Mediation can help you resolve your conflict by:
- Giving you the time to talk things through with the other party in a safe and non-threatening environment.
- Allowing you to make your own decisions.
- Saving time and money by avoiding legal action.
- Giving you an opportunity to raise matters that will not be dealt with by a court.
Family mediation can help with a range of family law matters including divorce, financial or property agreements, and parenting arrangements. This confidential process takes place outside of court.
As Mediators are highly experienced in wide-ranging aspects of family law the mediator will speak to each of the parties confidentially prior to the mediation session.
- At the mediation, the mediator explains each step of the process to the parties.
- Each of the parties explains to the mediation the dispute in their own words
- A list of the main issues is drawn up.
- Guided by the mediator, the parties discuss each of those issues, usually directly with each other or via their lawyers if lawyers are attending at the mediation. Sometimes, the parties may be in separate rooms or on the telephone as the mediator is highly experienced and will ensure that each party to the mediation feels safe and the matter is appropriate to mediate.
- Each person or group speaks with the mediator privately, and what is said is confidential.
- The parties then negotiate the terms of possible resolutions to the dispute.
- If agreement is reached this may be written down or it may be a verbal one.
Why is a lawyer important at a mediation?
It’s important to understand that lawyers don’t work only within a court of law. Family lawyers like the team at SJP Law are committed to helping clients find alternative ways to resolve their disputes as quickly and as amicably possible, such a mediation/alternative dispute resolution processes. Consulting with an experienced family lawyer is a great first step towards resolving your matter through mediation/the alternative dispute resolution process.
Family lawyers are specialists in understanding the family law system and how that applies to your situation. Having a lawyer involved in your family mediation process is important because they can provide accurate legal advice regarding any distribute of the parties assets and, where parenting issues are involved, can ensure that any proposed agreements are ones that are in the best interests the children.
Contact us for family law mediation
We know that a family breakdown or dispute is difficult for everyone involved. At SJP Law, we’re here to guide you through the legal system and help find solutions that meet everybody’s needs, making the process easier to deal with. If you need specialist support from family lawyers or are interested in beginning family mediation in Maroochydore, please get in touch with our team.