Mediation & Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)

Mediation is much less formal than going to court, but the conflict resolution process does involve distinct stages designed to lead to a mutually beneficial compromise.

Pursuing a lawsuit can be costly. Using mediation, two or more people can resolve a dispute informally with the help of a neutral third person, called the mediator, and avoid expensive litigation.

Most mediators have training in conflict resolution, although the extent of a mediator’s training and experience can vary considerably and at Maude lawyers, we strive to provide advice as to the most suitable mediator for each individual situation as well as representation at mediation, that will hopefully result in your matter being resolved in the most cost effective manner possible.

The Role of the Mediator

Unlike a judge or an arbitrator, the mediator won’t decide the outcome of the case. The mediator’s job is to help the disputants resolve the problem through a process that encourages each side to:

  • air disputes
  • identify the strengths and weaknesses of their case
  • understand that accepting less than expected is the hallmark of a fair settlement, and
  • agree on a satisfactory solution.

The primary goal is for all parties to work out a solution they can live with and trust.

The mediator has no authority to impose a decision, and therefore nothing will be decided unless both parties agree to it. The process focuses on solving problems in an economical manner such as taking into account the cost of litigation rather than continuing or commencing in the Family Court.

That’s not to say that the merits of the case aren’t factored into the analysis, they are. The mediator will assess the case and highlight the weaknesses of each side, which provide the parties with an idea of the risks of faring far worse in front of a judge, and the financial and emotional cost of proceeding in the Family Court.

If the parties reach an agreement, your lawyer and the mediator will put its main provisions in writing and ask each side to sign the written summary of the agreement. This agreement can be formalised in the Family Court by Maude Family Lawyers as Consent Orders.

If the parties didn’t reach an agreement, the mediator will help the parties determine whether it would be fruitful to meet again later or to seek a determination from the Family Court.

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)

Family Dispute Resolution can allow you to resolve issues with a focus on benefits for yourself, your children, your family and your future. Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a form of mediation in which an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner takes on the role of mediator to assist people in resolving their family dispute.

The mediator improves the method and quality of decision making between the participants in order to facilitate the negotiation of an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties.

The mediator is impartial, and the participants remain in control of the topics of discussion, as well as the details of any agreement.

Family Dispute Resolution is an opportunity to resolve disputes in an informal environment without the need to go to court. It is a solution-focused approach in which the participants explore various ideas and options with the aim of reaching an agreement. Family Dispute Resolution can help to resolve matters faster and is often more inexpensive and less stressful than attempting to resolve matters in court.

In the event parties are unable to reach an agreement about their children/s arrangements the FDR Practitioner can issue a Section 60I Certificate, which is required by legislation (in most circumstances) before a party can commence parenting proceedings in the Family Court.

For legal advice as to whether you require FDR or if your matter warrants an urgent application to the Family Court, we suggest you make an appointment with one of lawyers at Maude Family Lawyers.