Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a term used to describe dispute resolution options other than litigation and going to Court. Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) describes a dispute resolution service designed to deal specifically with Family Law Matters. Such as parenting and access arrangements, financial and property settlements. Mediation, conciliation, and arbitration are ADR. FDR is a specialist in Family Law Mediation and is best suited to resolving Family Law disputes.
FDR Mediation is where the parties to a Family Law dispute engage an FDR practitioner’s services (Family Law Mediator). The mediator will work with both parties to help them stay focused on the children of the relationship (if applicable) and to negotiate their dispute in an amicable and supported way.
For property settlements after separation, a couple can engage in property mediation with an FDR practitioner to negotiate an agreement.
Understanding the Process
Relationship breakdowns are often an emotionally painful journey. A separation invokes difficult and intense thoughts. In addition, when a relationship ends, we can experience stress, confusion and uncertainty.
It won’t be easy for either party, but rather than turning to solicitors or the legal system to deal with your settlement, you can choose to settle your property matter more amicably by using property mediation. And this is when property settlement mediators or Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners come into the picture.
A property settlement mediation occurs when both parties engage a qualified and experienced FDR mediator. The mediator helps both parties understand their rights and obligation under Australian Family Law and helps them negotiate a Just and Equitable financial or property settlement.
The FDR mediator will speak with each party individually at an intake interview. After the intake, the FDR mediation is scheduled. It is at this point the parties come together to negotiate an agreement with the mediator’s help. The mediation session can happen in a number of ways:
- The first and most successful is where both the parties are in the same room, supported by the FDR mediator. In this supported environment, they provide disclosure, and the negotiations happen, often culminating in an agreement being reached.
- Another option is shuttle mediation, which involves the mediator talking to each party in separate rooms. The mediator will work with both parties individually, helping them share all the documentation and explore their options before reaching an agreement.
- Video and telephone mediation is also available for those matters where it is more appropriate. Or if the parties live in different towns, states, or countries.
The Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner manages the conflict between the couple and helps them to stay focused on what is important, which in many cases is the children of the relationship. The FDR mediator will help the couple explore all their legal options and discuss with them the possible consequences of not reaching an agreement through mediation, such as the costs of litigation or using solicitors to negotiate a settlement.
Why Should A Couple Use Property Mediation?
- An FDR mediator helps both parties understand their rights and obligation under Australian Family Law. They help couples find common ground and understand what possible outcomes can be achieved with help and support. Litigation and Court can take several months or years to reach an agreement. Property mediation with a qualified FDR mediator saves both parties time, money, and trauma.
- Unlike litigation, FDR Property mediation is a non-adversarial process, whereas solicitors are required by law to advocate for their client’s best interest. In mediation, both parties put their proposals and negotiate a settlement in a managed safe environment. FDR mediation is a forward focus process, we are there to resolve the presenting issue, not go over old ground or apportion blame.
- FDR Mediation costs a fraction of what it costs to go to court or use solicitors. A property matter can be resolved in several weeks or a few months, helping to lessen the financial burden of separation.
- The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA) is a public jurisdiction, and the Tax Department monitors Family Court proceedings. Family Dispute Resolution is confidential; information revealed in FDR mediation cannot be used if you later initiate litigation.
How to Prepare for Property Mediation?
Your FDR mediator will give you a list of the information you need to provide to enable a successful negotiation. Since both parties will be negotiating on their behalf, preparing for the mediation is important. Your mediator will provide information and guidance to help you. Bring all the relevant information you have been asked to bring by your mediator. Have a clear understanding of what you want and or need, and be prepared to compromise and negotiate. Dividing up your life’s work should not be a win-loss situation; both parties often simply want to get on with their lives as quickly as possible.
That’s how an FDR property mediation process takes place. Talk to a good Family Dispute Resolutions practitioner who is confident in working with property settlements or has a history of helping couples effectively negotiate property settlements. Do your research and ensure you hire an experienced and reliable mediator.