PREPARING FOR MEDIATION
Family mediation is the most widely recommended approach for reaching property and parenting agreements in Australia. Professionals consistently agree that family mediation helps decrease the emotional and financial consequences of separation while achieving cost-effective, fair and equitable outcomes as good or better than the litigation process. However, while more cost-effective, family mediation still requires you to work with your ex-partner to discuss, negotiate, work through issues and reach an agreement.
At Adelaide Family Mediation, our experienced family mediators find that prepared clients have a more realistic and better experience. We advise you to take the time needed to understand what is expected and thoroughly prepare for your mediation.
Ensuring you are in the right headspace is just as important as ensuring that you have collected all the documentation that you might need. Read through the 'Preparing for Mediation' workbook, as there might be things that you haven't even thought of that could come up during mediation. Whether emotionally, logistically, strategically or practically.
Ensure that you have realistic expectations regarding timeframes. While it is great to resolve everything in one session, this sometimes isn't possible. Some clients will need to come back more than once to reach a complete agreement. Resolving the matters as quickly as possible is ideal; however, sometimes, taking your time will deliver a more considered outcome leading to fewer issues moving forward. If this is frustrating, remember that court could take years. By being realistic about your timeframes, you can avoid being unprepared and spending time and money needlessly.
Where possible, bring along all the relevant material about the matter. For example;
Court or consent orders
Intervention or family violence orders
Superannuation and bank statements
Recent financial proposals from the other party
Current parenting plan or arrangements
Don't stress if you can't locate or don't have access to these details. Through the process, we will help you obtain what is needed.
You will be asked to explain why you are here and what you want to achieve from the process, so take some time to consider this. It is also important to think about what you believe the other party wants and how you might wish to respond to. Sometimes, you might have no idea what they want; however, consider several scenarios you think they could present.
Take your time, research, and talk to people who may have been through something similar to understand better the details of the process you are about to undertake. You are in control of the process. However, the family mediator will help you be best placed to make decisions, but you must make tough decisions to resolve the dispute. Your pre-mediation preparation may make all the difference.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Once you have reached an agreement, you are not required to do anything else. However, there are a few common scenarios to remember, which may apply to you now or in the future.
You are happy with the Parenting Agreement, but you want it formalised by way of a Consent Order:
To initiate this process, you are required to apply to the Family Court. Access the necessary forms conveniently located on the Family Court of Australia website. Click on the link below to explore the DIY kit, where you can access the forms and additional guidance. You can attach a copy of your Parenting Agreement, facilitated by Adelaide Family Mediation. This provides a seamless and professional progression towards formalising your agreed-upon parenting arrangements.
If the Parenting Agreement is not working out:
If you find that the Parenting Agreement is not effectively addressing your needs or presenting challenges, you can return to mediation. This allows for a constructive and facilitated dialogue to address any issues, refine the agreement, and ensure that it aligns with all parties' evolving needs.
One party is not following the Parenting Agreement:
If one party is not adhering to the terms of the Parenting Agreement, it's advisable to take proactive steps to address the situation. Consider initiating legal action by applying to the Family Court for a Court Order in such cases. This formal process can enforce the terms of the agreement and ensure compliance. For more guidance and information on how to proceed, refer to the Family Court of Australia website or consult with legal professionals specialising in family law. Taking timely and appropriate action can help resolve issues and maintain the integrity of the agreed-upon Parenting Agreement.