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What are the types of
family law mediation? 

There are several different types of family law mediation. Generally, the most successful is private mediation. In these circumstances, each party attends with their lawyer before an independent third-party mediator. Each independent mediator has their own style, some are more directive and will give their opinion as to how the matter should resolve while others are more inclined to focus on facilitating a discussion directly between the parties.  Which type suits you depends on the personalities involved and the issues being discussed.  We will canvas these with you before hand and advise as to the appropriate mediator for your matter. 

One important alternative to private mediation are services such as Relationships Australia.  It is important to note that the practitioners employed are generally not legally trained and facilitate a discussion rather than advise. It is our experience that these services work well for parenting matters where the parties are relatively amicable.  Where there is a power imbalance or complex legal issues it is better to ensure that you are each getting qualified legal advice.  Often we see couples reach agreement at this type of mediation only for them to subsequently seek independent legal advice and change their mind as to what they consider fair.  This often leads to hostility where there wasn’t any. 

As mentioned above lawyer assisted mediation is advisable whenever there is dispute between parties and particularly where the relationship is not entirely amicable. It is often quite important that the other party is legally represented so that they are well informed of the legal principles involved and whether what they are seeking would be supported by a Judge if it came to that. If a party with an unreasonable position does not instruct a solicitor it can become very difficult to negotiated and court proceedings are often inevitable.

Lawyer assisted mediation allows both parties to be confident that they got the right outcome for their case and removes any niggling doubts they may have. Lawyer assisted mediation has the highest level of successful outcome and client satisfaction of all dispute resolution methods.

The mediator’s role is to ascertain what the issues are and guide the discussion towards an agreement. They generally will not indicate how they think the matter should be resolved but they will set parameters and indicate if one party’s position is unreasonable or unrealistic. 

If an agreement is reached at mediation it should be formalised by the signing of “Consent Orders” and an “Application for Consent Orders” on the day or shortly thereafter. 

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