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Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Lawyers

The legislation places an emphasis on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as family counselling or more commonly mediation.  You must attempt dispute resolution prior to commencing court proceedings with respect to parenting matters.  

If you are in need of any advice regarding mediation or ADR matters, get in touch or book a consultation with our alternative dispute resolution lawyers at Clarity Lawyers Newcastle & Maitland.


Alternative Dispute Resolution FAQ's

A dispute settlement, also referred to as dispute resolution, is a process of resolving disputes or conflicts between two or more parties. In family law, these parties are most commonly spouses and/or parents. 

The traditional mode of resolving disputes in Australia is litigation. However, due to the time and cost of litigation, people have had to resort to other modes of dispute settlement. These other methods are known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

As such, it is recommended that disputing parties first attempt ADR before going to Court. In some cases, the Court may even order litigating parties to use an ADR process to settle their dispute.

In family law disputes, the Family Court of Australia actually requires parties to try ADR before resorting to litigation.

If you need legal advice regarding mediation or other ADR matters, then consult our expert Alternative Dispute Resolution lawyers immediately.

Using ADR has many benefits. Some of these advantages include:
  • Inexpensive: Alternative Dispute Resolution methods are cheaper than court trials. This is mostly due to the reduced amount of time resolving a dispute with ADR takes. It has a huge impact on lawyer fees and costs of witnesses. In fact, depending on the ADR method you adopt, you may not need the services of a lawyer. Nonetheless, it is always advisable to hire the services of a lawyer engaged in alternative dispute resolution.

  • Privacy: ADR is usually private and confidential. Most ADR processes require only the presence of the parties, their legal representatives, and the mediator administering the process. This is unlike litigation, where most cases are handled in open Court. Additionally, most court records are public records and are accessible to everyone. ADR helps keep the matters private and only between the parties. 

  • Speed: ADR processes are faster than the traditional legal process. Therefore, it spares you the lengthy legal procedures of normal trials.

  • Flexibility and Control: ADR allows the parties to set the terms of the procedure. They can decide on the time and date of the meetings, the laws to apply, and the rules of the hearing.

There are various types of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Below, we give brief descriptions of the most popular techniques of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

  • Arbitration: This is a process where parties involved in a dispute choose to submit to a neutral third party. This neutral third party will hear both sides of the dispute and make a final decision that will be binding on both parties. In arbitration, the parties choose the neutral third party. If there is one arbitrator, both parties must choose a neutral person.  If there are three arbitrators, each party can choose one arbitrator of their choice. Then the chosen arbitrators jointly decide on the third arbitrator.
  • Conciliation: This process involves a neutral third party who facilitates communication between the two conflicting parties. The aim of this is to reach an amicable decision. The conciliator will consider each party’s position and may offer their opinion and recommend a fair outcome. In family law disputes, this method helps both parties resolve financial issues arising from a divorce or separation.
  • Parenting Coordination: Parenting coordination is a type of ADR method that focuses on the child. It is a process for parents that are separated or divorced. The aim of parenting coordination is to try to reduce or end the conflict between the parents, putting the child first. It uses trained professionals called Parenting Coordinators to help troubled families implement agreed arrangements for their children. These coordinators are neutral and unbiased and are focused on what is best for the children. 
  • Negotiation: This is usually the first ADR process that parties to a conflict attempt to use when involved in a dispute. In negotiation, the parties come together to discuss and settle their dispute. The main advantage of this form of dispute settlement is that it allows the parties to control the dispute resolution process themselves. They, therefore, arrive at the solution by themselves. 

At Clarity Lawyers, we will advise you on the most appropriate method of dispute resolution to take. We’re also ready to represent and counsel you during the ADR proceedings. We will do all we can to help your matter get resolved smoothly and seamlessly. 

In many ADR processes, it’s not compulsory that a family lawyer represents you. However, there are many advantages of hiring a lawyer engaged in alternative dispute resolution. It’s the best way to protect your legal interests and rights, as well as ensure the best possible outcome.

Most arbitrators and mediators are not lawyers. Therefore, there might be no lawyer present at your ADR proceedings if you don’t hire a personal family lawyer. This should be a red flag if the dispute involves complex issues like child support, child custody, and division of marital assets.

At the end of the ADR process, you’ll be entering into a legal contract. Divorce agreements and other outcomes of ADR hearings typically result in a signed consent order or agreement. You should never sign anything without speaking to a lawyer.

At the end of the day, hiring a qualified and experienced alternative dispute resolution lawyer will give you the peace of mind you need during a divorce or any other family law proceedings.

The alternative dispute resolution lawyers of Clarity Lawyers provide personalised and dynamic legal solutions for our clients. It’s our belief that using ADR rather than litigation in family law disputes is a great option for people who value an amicable result to their conflict.

You can use Alternative Dispute Resolution methods to resolve any type of family dispute. 

Examples of cases that ADR methods cater to include family matters, housing matters and most commonly, parental cases. 

If one or both parties in a parenting matter fails to attend mediation, the mediator will inform the Court. When this happens, the parents will appear before the Court on the date scheduled for the hearing. The absent parent will have to explain to the judge why they were not present for the mediation session.

If the Court orders you and the other parent in a parenting matter to attempt mediation, you have an obligation to do so. If any parent refuses to attend mediation, they could be held in contempt of Court.

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