1 – Call or email us to make an appointment.
We will explain the mediation process to you, and you can ask any questions you may have. We will provide written information to you as well. If you would like to proceed with mediation, we can then discuss the best way to invite the other party (e.g. your ex-partner) to participate in mediation. We will provide each of you with a Mediation Agreement which sets out our terms of engagement including costs and disbursements (which are typically split 50/50). The bulk of the mediation fees and disbursements are payable in advance.
2 – Pre-mediation appointment with a mediator (1.5 – 2 hours)
We will meet with each of you separately either face to face or by telephone. The purpose of this confidential meeting is to clarify what you would like to discuss in mediation and to explain in detail how the mediation works. This meeting also provides the mediator with an opportunity to assess whether or not it is a case that is suitable for mediation and it provides you with an opportunity to assess whether you are comfortable to proceed with mediation with the mediator.
3 – Legal Advice
If you have not yet spoken with an accredited family law specialist or a very experienced family lawyer, it is important that you do so. Many people only have a vague or misinformed idea about their rights and entitlements and how the Family Law Act treats direct and indirect financial contributions, inheritances – actual or potential, and other property such as superannuation. It is very important not to rely on ‘bush lawyers’ or the advice of friends who have had a rough time in the family law world. Everyone’s case is different, so do obtain legal advice.
Each party may be legally represented during a parenting, property or estate law mediation. Indeed, it is our preference that you be legally represented. If the court has appointed an Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL), he or she should attend as well.
To get into the right mindset prior to mediation, it is worth asking yourself the following questions:
4 – Legal Representation
What is the range of possible outcomes if you were to take this matter to court rather than negotiate or mediate a settlement?
What is the most likely outcome?
How long is it likely to take to get a judgment and court orders, if you were to take this to court?
What experts would be required to assist with your matter such as accountants, business or property valuer, financial planners or child psychologists?
How much would the entire legal process cost? This information will help you to make informed decisions during the mediation.
5 – Mediation – the Process
If the mediator and both parties are willing to proceed with mediation, an appointment will be made for all parties to meet together. Mediations typically take 5 – 12 hours or more. Sometimes all issues are resolved in the first session. Sometimes additional sessions are necessary. Marie chooses venues that are upbeat and safe, with natural light. The mediation will be well paced with intervals for morning tea and a ½ hour lunch. Time out may be requested and if legally represented, you may ask to consult your lawyer when you need to (for which a breakout room will be hired).
6 – Your safety
Marie ensures the mediation room format is designed for your comfort. An airy, spacious venue is chosen and the desks or tables are arranged so that it not necessary to have direct eye contact with your partner.
If you do not feel safe in the same room as your partner, we can arrange a “shuttle mediation” which means the mediator goes between two rooms and conveys the offers made by each client to the other.
7 – Agreements
The mediator will type up any agreements that are made during the mediation. This document is known as a ‘good will’ agreement which reflects the good intentions of the parents. The parties can, by agreement, take steps outside of the dispute resolution process to make their agreements enforceable. When the parties are legally represented, typically these agreement will need formalising or further tidying up and sometimes further negotiation.
This may include you:
- Instructing a lawyer to convert the agreements reached into consent orders and filing them with the court for its approval and sealing (stamping with the court’s seal). Legal fees and court filing fees apply.
- Seeking to make the agreements converted into a Parenting Plan. Click here for more information about Parenting Plans.