Mediation - Family Lawyers Newcastle
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Mediation and Alternatives to the Court Process

Merridy Elphick MediationMediation and Alternatives to the Court process


Merridy Elphick Lawyers now offer accessible professional mediation services designed to meet the needs of Family Law clients and professionals working within the Family Law area.


Merridy Elphick is a nationally accredited mediator and also has many years practising in the area of Family Law as a senior solicitor and partner. Her wealth of experience and skills with regard to the nature of disputes in the Family Law area informs her practice to provide flexible and client focused solutions using the facilitative model mediation.


Mediation can provide an alternative dispute solving mechanism to costly litigation in a timely manner. It also provides the parties with the opportunity to retain a level of control over the outcomes available to them.



Benefits of Mediation


Parties to a dispute under the Family Law Act (with a few exceptions) are required to make a genuine effort to resolve issues in dispute prior to commencing proceedings. Parties to parenting matters are generally required to attend Family Dispute Resolution in an attempt to resolve their issues prior to proceeding to Court.


In most circumstances, mediations can generally be organised quickly, at a time that is convenient to both parties. Sometimes, and where appropriate, mediations might allow the parties an opportunity to deal with the psychological, social and economic dynamics that often accompany and drive breakdowns in Family Law Matters.


Central to the facilitative model of mediation is that attendance at, and outcome of, mediation is completely voluntary. This voluntariness allows the parties to be somewhat more creative than what might otherwise be their options before a Court. Mediation also allows the parties the opportunity to focus on their future relationship and to create solutions to the problems they are experiencing.


All parties and families are unique and the resolution of their matter should be as closely aligned to their specific needs as is possible. The facilitative mediation model allows parties, with the assistance of their lawyers and mediators, to identify issues in dispute and then develop and consider alternative solutions to those issues.


Mediation can be held before or after proceedings are commenced.



Family Dispute Resolution


Family Dispute Resolution is a mediation model specifically designed around resolving issues concerning care arrangements for children. In most circumstances parenting matters cannot commence in the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court without the parties first having participated in Family Dispute Resolution and obtaining a Section 60I certificate. There are some circumstances where mediation may not be required or deemed appropriate. For more information we suggest you speak with your Family Law solicitor and obtain independent legal advice.


The Process


1. The engagement of the mediator chosen by the parties


2. An intake session conducted by the mediator with each party individually. The intake session provides the parties with an opportunity to give an outline of the issues that are important to them and for the mediator to determine whether or not the matter is actually suitable for mediation.


3. Mediation – which may take between 3 and 4 hours but can take longer depending on the issues in dispute.


4. Mediation outcomes can result in:
(a) a resolution of the issues in dispute; or
(b) at times some, but not all, of the issues are resolved; or
(c) the parties agree to return for further negotiation or mediation; or
(d) parties proceed to Court.


It is important to remember that most people attend mediation with a desire to resolve their issues. In the event that an agreement is reached it is also possible for the agreement to be drafted and signed on the day.