Family Law & Alternative Dispute Resolution Options
Family Law Mediation
Most separated couples can resolve their disputes without going to Court.
However, some need the assistance of an independent person, such as a mediator to facilitate negotiations for settlement of children, property, child support or other family issues. A mediator helps both parties to openly discuss their needs and interests and creates an environment to generate creative solutions.
It is important that you get legal advice before entering mediation.
Adelta Legal offers Nationally Accredited (NMAS) mediators and an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP), all family lawyers can issue certificates if necessary, for court processes.
Most mediation offered by mediation services are facilitative mediation processes only.
At Adelta Legal we offer lawyer mediators who assist you to to facilitate the process impartially.
As mediators we cannot provide legal advice, but we can provide both parties with an indication of possible court outcomes to assist. This process is called evaluative mediation.
This can be conducted at our office or at your lawyer’s premises.
A mediation has two distinct steps;
- Step 1 is an intake session where each party will have an opportunity to discuss the process and any issues, one on one, with the mediator either in person or over the phone. Family violence, mental health issues and addictions are all considered here. This conversation lasts between 30 mins to an hour.
- Step 2 is the mediation where both parties usually meet face to face and the mediator facilitates a conversation between them. This can be with or without the parties’ lawyers present and accommodation can be made for parties that cannot be in the same room due to family violence or other issues. Each mediation session usually last 2 to 3 hours. Further mediation sessions can be scheduled if needed.
If you reach an agreement in mediation, the mediator can record the terms of your agreement in a Mediated Parenting Plan or Property Agreement. This is a record of the parties’ agreement but is not legally binding. The agreement should be developed into a Court Order after the conclusion of the mediation by your lawyer.
If it is deemed inappropriate for parties to attend mediation our qualified Family Dispute Practitioner or the mediator may issue a certificate telling the court the mediation was not appropriate. In some circumstances of family violence or when the matter is urgent the court may waive the requirement for mediation all together.
Adelta is happy to discuss whether mediation is appropriate and what method may be the best in your situation.
Collaborative Law or Roundtable Negotiations
Collaborative law is a process which allows parties to settle disputes without resorting to protracted litigation. All parties, including the party’s legal representatives, commit to resolving the matter in a roundtable negotiation format.
This process focuses on the needs and desires of you and your family unit and aims to work as a team to determine the best outcome for all parties.
In the collaborative process both parties will be represented by an experienced and collaboratively trained family lawyer and an experienced team of trained interdisciplinary professionals. A financial neutral and relationships consultant will usually also be engaged. This team will then work with you, to guide an appropriate outcome through several round table meetings.
This methodology is beneficial for parties who seek to continue a civil relationship post separation particularly if there are children involved or a working relationship needs to be maintained for a period such as within family businesses.
The traditional court litigation approach can be slow, expensive, and destructive of an ongoing relationship. The collaborative approach aims to be a smoother and more amicable methodology controlled by the parties and more creative in the outcomes possible.
Collaborative law is common practice in the United States and parts of Europe. In Australia collaborative law is still developing but gathering popularity as clients are seeing the results of a process that provides a real and legally sound outcome without destroying the parties ongoing relationships.
Feel free to contact one of our trained collaborative lawyers today to discuss whether this process is appropriate for your matter.
Arbitration is a process in which parties prepare documents and evidence and present arguments to an arbitrator who makes a determination to resolve part or all of the family law financial dispute.
The main difference between an arbitration and mediation is that in mediation parties seek to reach their own agreement with the assistance of a mediator. Arbitration is like a court process where the arbitrator will make a decision and provide an award, based on the party’s applications. Parties will be bound to that decision. There is a limited recourse to the court on appeal.
Currently, arbitration is limited to financial matters such as property settlement, spousal maintenance, and financial agreements. Children’s matters such as who children live with and who they spend time with, are not matters that can be dealt with in an arbitration.
The benefits of arbitration are that individuals control the process and timeline for a decision. The process can be more flexible and cost-effective. The parties are provided with a binding and confidential result in a timely manner.
We have offices in the city, at Tea Tree Gully and Morphett Vale for the convenience of clients. In addition, for the elderly or infirm, visits can be made to clients at home or in hospital.
Call us on 08 8415 5000 or send an email to make an appointment.