Reaching an Agreement Using Family Relationship Services

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The Government has recently announced it will invest more than $100 million towards funding family relationship services including post separation dispute resolution processes. Below are some options available for parties when trying to reach agreement about their family law matter.

Some options which do not involve solicitors?

Direct negotiation between the parties – works best if the parties are able to communicate about their issues directly and have a reasonably amicable relationship.

Mediation – a direct process designed around interest-based negotiation. Works best when parties can assert their interests well. The mediator should be an independent, neutral third party trained in mediation. Organisations such as Relationships Australia and the Family Relationships Centre have skilled mediators who can assist parties to address their dispute.

Some lawyer involved options?

Negotiations through solicitors – a party engages a solicitor to communicate with the other party/their solicitor in an attempt to reach agreement about a family law matter.

Round table conference – the parties and their respective solicitors meet together in an attempt to resolve the matter.

Arbitration – this is usually where a senior barrister, retired Judge or another qualified arbitrator is appointed to determine a dispute.

Collaborative practice – the parties effectively enter into a contract to resolve their matter without going to Court. The parties and their solicitors (and sometimes experts such as accountants/counsellors) meet together in four-way meetings to achieve a resolution.

Litigation – always the last resort if negotiations fail but can be useful in urgent situations. Litigation can also force parties into further settlement negotiations.

How do I go about choosing a process to resolve my family law matter?

It is important to choose the right process to help resolve your family law issue. We can help you decide what process is best for you, so you don’t waste time, effort and money.