Keywords to optimize the article for: family dispute resolution, mediation services, family plan, dispute resolution, mediators
When relationships break down, discussing how property should be divided or future childcare can become emotionally charged.
All family disputes are stressful—but not all family disputes have to involve the courts. Engaging professional Family Dispute Resolution mediators has proven to be successful.
Families argue over many matters, i.e.:
- Alcoholism/Substance Abuse
- Couple Relationships
- Sharing responsibilities
What is Family Mediation?
Mediation is an impartial third party’s intervention in a dispute, which assists disputing parties in negotiating the issues at hand. Family Mediation is often conducted in a mediation room, where disputing parties have a neutral, safe space to work through a mutually agreeable solution. Individuals negotiate the terms of their agreements with the assistance of a mediator.
How Mediators Can Help
Issues can escalate if couples become obstinate or other family members interfere. However, the sooner the parties understand they are in control and that they are the only ones who could resolve the situation, the sooner they can start discussions.
Some disputes require legal intervention. For example, if a child is in contact with family members who have a history of violence, the child needs legal protection through the courts. However, this does not resolve the underlying issue causing the violence. Working through issues with the help of a mediator often sheds light on underlying issues and brings the problem into focus, enabling you to consider viable alternative solutions.
Quite often, parties are willing to work things out but don’t know how. They may feel that they have exhausted all their resources and options. In many cases, soliciting help and support from an experienced mediator can unlock the problem and help everyone move forward.
With few exceptions, everything you say in the presence of an FDR practitioner is confidential. Those exceptions would include preventing a threat to someone’s life or health or preventing the commission of a crime.
Anything said during FDR cannot be used as evidence in court. (An FDR mediator is obligated to report child abuse or anything indicating that a child is at risk of abuse. In some circumstances, this may be used as evidence.)
What Do Family Mediators Do?
Family Dispute mediators help identify the issues to be resolved, encouraging all parties involved to listen to the other’s point of view.
Mediation is voluntary and impartial. Family mediators help open communication channels—they set the conditions for constructive dialogue and respectable negotiations. The mediator ensures fairness and equity. However, the parties are the ones who ultimately agree on the solutions.
Mediators in family dispute resolution may recommend you seek legal advice to ensure what you have agreed to is legal; they will not give you advice nor tell you what to do. They will not offer any opinion on whether your agreement is reasonable.
If the agreement is going before a judge, the mediator draws upon their experience to tell you whether a judge will sanction your deal, so it becomes legally binding. Appellants are encouraged only to litigate those issues they cannot agree on and “settle” as many issues as possible outside of court.
Application to the Court
The court expectation for people involved in family law disputes only apply to the court when you have exhausted all options, and it has become apparent there is no means of resolving disputes on your own. The expectation of the courts is for the parties to attempt to resolve conflicts by discussion, compromise, and dispute resolution; this expectation applies both before and during proceedings.
Most parenting issues require Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) before you can apply. The expectation is for couples to continue looking for opportunities to resolve disputes with the assistance of a mediator, allowing you more significant input into the process and the outcome.
Engaging Government- Funded Mediator Services
Always ensure the mediator you engage is registered as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP). Seeking legal advice on options available is highly recommended.
FDRPs are trained in assisting people in resolving disputes; they cannot give legal advice or impose a decision.
You may be charged a subsidy for services depending on your income.
The Benefits of Dispute Resolution
Dispute resolution allows you to communicate with the other parties effectively and improves the chances of reaching an agreement out of court, one that is sustainable.
Additionally, dispute resolution is a less stressful means of resolving disputes, timelier, and more affordable than court.
How Are Dispute Resolutions Orders Set?
Officers of the Court, the courts, and court child experts can request dispute resolution; the court will create the orders. You must comply with the order, or you will be fined for non-compliance.
What Documents Do You Need?
Court orders will include what documents are required and may consist of Applications, Responses, Affidavits, expert reports, and other documents.
Can Children Be Involved?
If participating in private mediation, parents may agree to a child-inclusive process. You can obtain details for these procedures from child experts, FDRPs, mediators, and Family Relationships Centers.
What Happens After Family Dispute Resolution?
Once you and the other parties have reached an agreement, it will be recorded as a parenting plan; these plans can be renegotiated if necessary.
If the mediation is unsuccessful, an accredited Family Dispute Resolution practitioner can issue a certificate for application to a family law court.
How Long Does the Process Take?
There is no specified time frame—it can take a few hours, or a few days, depending on the number and complexity of issues.
Private Mediator Services
Some practitioners offer online FDR. This is an excellent option if you and your former partner live far apart or do not live near a city center.
The Final Outcome
Whenever families separate, the goal is to always benefit all parties, if possible, especially if children are involved. Engaging mediators is an excellent way for all parties to work together to achieve this goal.