If you are thinking of going to Court for a Family Law matter, in relation to child support, divorce, children’s or property matters, it is best to seek legal advice from a family lawyer beforehand. You will find, rather quickly, that where possible, Court should be the last resort. Lengthy court proceedings with added stress of not knowing or being certain of the outcome, can be extremely stressful and distressing. Our Family Lawyers will look at your case and advise you on your options. There may be alternative dispute resolution methods available to you. The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (the Act) emphasises the use of alternative dispute resolution methods, like counselling and mediation for the resolution of family law matters.
Counselling may be a course you wish to take. If you and your partner have been married for less than two (2) years, under section 44(1B) of the Act, there is a counselling requirement before an application can be made for a divorce. The section provides that a certificate must be attached to the application for divorce, showing that the parties have considered reconciliation. Under section 44(1C), the court may still grant the application if there are special circumstances. However, the application of section 44(1B) shows the emphasis placed on using alternative dispute mechanisms to resolve family law issues.
Mediation is another alternative dispute resolution. Mediation is the process of attempting to settle the dispute through the engagement of a third party. The third party (the mediator) will work with both parties to look at points upon which both parties may or have potential to agree on and points upon which there is no agreement. Where there is no agreement, the third party will assist in achieving a compromise between the two parties. The advantage of mediation is that the setting is informal and the decisions made at the end of the session will be the solely the decision of the two parties. The mediator does not make any of the decisions. The meditator’s primary objective is to assist in achieving a mutually acceptable decision which both parties are able to agree to. The cost of mediation is also significantly less costly than court proceedings.
If you have children as a result of the marriage or relationship, section 60I of the Act provides a general requirement of mediation and counselling. Before an order can be made under Part VII (concerning children), the court must be satisfied that the parties have made a “genuine effort to resolve [the] dispute by family dispute resolution”. A certificate must be provided by the family dispute resolution practitioner as to whether one of the following occurred:
- A party did not attend the family dispute resolution due to the refusal of the other party;
- A party did not attend the family dispute resolution as the family dispute practitioner considered it inappropriate that the proposed family dispute resolution be conducted;
- The family dispute resolution was held and a genuine effort was made by all parties to resolve the issues;
- The family dispute resolution was held but no genuine effort was made to resolve the issues by one or more of the relevant parties; or
- All parties attended the family dispute resolution however the family dispute practitioner considered it inappropriate to continue the family dispute resolution.
For preliminary advice and assessment of your case, book your first free consultation with one of our expert Family Lawyers by contacting us on (02) 9233 4048, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For a complete list of our office locations, please peruse our "Locations" tab.
This webpage (and any material or wording appearing on this webpage) is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute any Legal Advice. It does not take into account your objectives, your instructions or all of the relevant facts and/or circumstances. Navado accepts no responsibility to any person who relies on the information provided on this website. We further refer you to our Disclaimer.
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If you require assistance with a Family matter, you should make an appointment to see one of our Lawyers in one of the following locations:
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