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  • Writer's pictureTemara Willis

Mediation Post the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court Merger

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

A symbolic legal representation, reflecting the recent changes in Family Court merging and the increased emphasis on mediation in family law matters.

In recent years, mediation has seen a surge in popularity, particularly within the realm of family law. This trend has become even more pronounced with the recent changes to the Family Court in September of this year. On September 1, 2021, the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court officially merged to form a unified entity. This strategic merger aims to establish a single-entry point, intending to alleviate delays and backlogs in family law courts by promoting a faster, more cost-effective, and consistently resolved legal process.

A significant shift accompanied this change – an expanded scope of matters that now require mediation before a party can apply for an order under the Family Law Act. While parents were always obligated to attempt mediation before approaching the court for parenting matters (with certain exemptions), the process for property settlement orders did not mandate mediation prior to filing an application in the Federal Court.

Under the new system, it is now a prerequisite to attempt to resolve matters through agreement or mediation before a court considers applications related to financial, property, or parenting matters.

As a mediator, I consider this development a positive initiative. While some may view this perspective as self-serving, I assure you it is founded on genuine observations of its efficacy. Beyond the potential cost savings, engaging in mediation allows parties to maintain control over the resolution process. Reputable legal professionals would endorse mediation as a valuable option, emphasising that it empowers individuals, preserves financial resources, and increases the likelihood of amicable resolutions conducive to maintaining future relationships.

However, it's essential to dispel the notion that mediation serves as a magic wand. Successful mediation requires both parties to be open to the process, receptive to mutually beneficial solutions and committed to moving forward. While not every issue is amenable to mediation, it remains a valuable tool for efficiently addressing resolvable matters, such as determining asset values or ensuring full disclosure, thereby saving time and costs.

Adelaide Family Mediation is committed to providing the tools and support needed for effective mediation. If you require assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us at 0410928191.

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