How Mediation Can Help with Separation or Divorce
It will come as no surprise to those currently going through a separation or divorce, that this is widely regarded as one of the most stressful and challenging stages in life. Independent studies show that other than the death of a spouse or family member, divorce and marital separation tops the list.
Family Law Mediation can not only present an alternative means of resolution, but can lead to more tailored, interest based outcomes that both parties are satisfied with. Furthermore, in parenting matters, parties will need to make a genuine attempt at resolving their matter and attending to (or attempting to attend to) Family Dispute Resolution before being eligible to make an application to the Court for parenting matters – that is, unless one of the exceptions, such as urgency or risk of harm to a child applied.
Mediation can often be a preferable path to resolution for the following reasons: –
- Registered mediation providers work on a neutral and independent third-party basis and will be able to provide objective ways for couples to discuss matters at hand.
- The neutrality of mediation, when well-managed, will allow both parties an equal voice and platform to air topics and build a framework for resolution.
- With resolution as the key objective, mediators will shift the focus from blame, historical issues or grievances towards the future.
- Parties can focus on interests based negotiations rather than taking positional stances to advance their matter, which is often the case in litigation.
- Mediation can often trim down on the legal costs of property settlement by providing a medium for (ideally) non-adversarial discussion and a better chance at resolution when compared to court based outcomes.
- Managed well, mediation can help deliver more creative solutions rather than the sometimes rigid legal environment.
Mediation allows both parties to discuss the following and other areas:-
- How assets, liabilities and superannuation interests may be divided post-separation.
- Creating a framework for future parenting arrangements and access.
- Determining and negotiating financial obligations for children and dependants.
While easy to state but difficult to put into practice – given the high emotional stress and anxiety that separation or divorce causes – parties should approach mediation as calmly as possible and prepare an agenda ahead of mediation. If parties can be civil and allow the mediator to manage the sessions well, sticking points that cannot be resolved can be time lined for future sessions. Where progress is made, significant levels of stress can be reduced as well as helping limit your legal costs.
Mediation should not be seen as a platform for reconciliation and should not be confused with counselling. Acceptance that the relationship is over is a key launching point for a successful outcome. As a process, mediation is a much more preferable path to the often fractious nature of separation and divorce and litigation that often follows.
Damien Greer Family Lawyers, one of Queensland’s leading family law firms offer a full range of legal services for those undergoing separation or divorce including mediation, arbitration and collaborative law. Please contact our team to discuss how we can help or call +617 3837 5500.