Reaching an Agreement on a Family Law Matter

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Going through a separation can be a stressful and emotional process. There are a number of options available to you to help resolve your family law issue and it is important to choose the right process for you and your situation. Below, we set out some options.

What are some of the options?

Direct negotiation between parties — works best if parties have a reasonably amicable relationship and can communicate about their issues directly.

Negotiations through solicitors — each party engages their own solicitor to help them reach an agreement about their family law matter. This can involve written negotiations and face to face negotiations such as a “round table conference”(where both parties and their solicitors meet to resolve matters).

Mediation — this is a direct process designed around interest-based negotiation. The mediator should be an independent, neutral third party. Lawyers can assist parties in mediation by providing guidance and advice as negotiations progress. Lawyers can also act as independent mediators. Organisations such as Relationships Australia and the Family Relationships Centre also have skilled mediators to assist parties reaching a resolution.

Collaborative law — parties enter into a contract to resolve matters without going to Court and attend four-way meetings to achieve a resolution.

Arbitration — a senior barrister, retired Judge or qualified arbitrator is appointed to determine the solution to the dispute.

Litigation — can be useful in urgent situations or if negotiations stall. Litigation can also force parties into further settlement discussion.

How do I choose the right process?

Choosing the right dispute resolution process is important as the wrong process can cause you undue stress, delay and expense. We can help you decide which process is best for you. We can also assist in designing a process which suits your particular needs.

What if we reach an agreement?

It is then important to formalise the agreement to protect each party’s interests and we can advise on how this can be done.