Frequently Asked Questions2018-09-22T14:51:08+00:00

Mediation can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. To ensure you are as knowledgeable and informed about the process as possible, our team have answered the most frequently asked questions about our services below.

What is Family Dispute Resolution?2018-09-22T09:27:05+00:00

Family Dispute Resolution is the formal term that is now used to describe ‘family mediation’.  You will notice that we have used the term ‘family mediation’ throughout our website – we have done this to keep things simple.  Anywhere ‘family mediation’ has been used, you could substitute it for Family Dispute Resolution.

What should be included in a parenting plan?2018-09-22T09:27:53+00:00

Anything that relates to your child or children.  The beauty of a parenting plan, as opposed to parenting orders, is that you are not limited to only the things a court will allow in an agreement.  Some things commonly included are:

  • The days and times that the child/ren are with each parent
  • How major decisions relating to the child/ren will to be made – eg schooling
  • Holidays and special occasions
  • Communication between parents
  • Communication between parents and children
  • Overseas travel
  • How the arrangements will be reviewed
  • Any professional support your child/ren may need to assist with the separation
  • Relationships with others – extended family, new partners
What is child inclusive mediation?2018-09-22T09:28:50+00:00

Child-inclusive mediation involves your child’s voice being included in the mediation process.  Your child meets with a Child Consultant – this is an opportunity for your child to describe their  experience of the separation, their relationships and any concerns that they have. The Child Consultant provides feedback to you and your ex-partner (with the consent of your child) for you both to reflect on and make the best arrangements for your child.

The process only occurs with the consent of both parents and is commenced only after both the mediator and Child Consultant assess it as appropriate for your family.  The process is adapted to the unique circumstances of your family, including being conducted in a developmentally appropriate manner for your children.

Do I bring a lawyer to mediation?2018-09-22T09:29:27+00:00

Most people do not bring a lawyer to mediation, as one of the main benefits of mediation is that it is a ‘non-legal’ process.  It is also very expensive to have your lawyer present for the whole mediation!

However there are some circumstances when having your lawyer present will make the process more productive.

Essentially the decision is up to you, and we regularly mediate both with and without lawyers being present.  The only thing we ask is that enough notice is given so that each of you is aware that a lawyer will be present.

How many joint sessions will I need?2018-09-22T09:31:04+00:00

Every matter is different.  It will depend upon each of your communication styles, how many issues that need to be discussed and their complexity and the level of conflict present.

Some people will resolve everything in their first joint session.  Most find that they resolve everything in two or three sessions, especially if they are discussing both parenting and financial issues.  Some families use mediation on an ongoing basis over many years to ensure that they are continuing to meet their children’s needs and have the best arrangements in place.

Who pays for mediation?2018-09-22T09:31:29+00:00

This needs to be agreed upon before any part of the mediation process can commence.  Most couples agree to equally share the costs of the mediation process. Some agree that the entire fees will be paid for by one party, which can be the case for a variety of reasons.

We do not issue a s60I certificate (on the basis of refusal) in the event that someone agrees to mediate but refuses to pay the fees for mediation.

Can mediation happen if there’s an AVO?2018-09-22T09:32:12+00:00

This depends upon the specific restrictions included in your ADVO, and we will need to see a copy of the current ADVO to determine whether mediation can occur.

If an ADVO order has been made stating that one of you must not approach or contact the other (an Order 6), then mediation can only occur if Order 6 (B) has been included.  If it hasn’t been included, you will need to seek legal advice regarding your options.

Otherwise, mediation can technically occur even with a current ADVO.

During the intake process, we need to get a detailed understanding about the history of the relationship and any past or current concerns for safety either of you may have.

We are legally required to assess each matter regarding its suitability to proceed to joint session mediation – if assessed as not suitable, you will both receive s60I certificates stating it is not suitable.

If assessed as suitable to continue to mediation, then the process will be structured to ensure that everyone feels safe and comfortable to participate effectively.

What is shuttle mediation?2018-09-22T09:32:48+00:00

If you do not feel safe or comfortable being in the same room as your ex-partner, then the mediation will be structured so that you are in separate rooms and the mediator will work between you both.

We can organise for you both to arrive and leave at differing times so the mediation can occur without you even having to see each other.

Is the agreement at mediation legally binding?2018-09-22T09:33:20+00:00

Generally no – as a rule, we encourage our clients not to sign any agreement during mediation.

We strongly believe that when deciding upon things as important as your children and financial future, you should take time to reflect upon the agreement before making it binding.  You should also get detailed legal advice regarding your rights and obligations under the agreement.

What most of our clients do is reach agreement about all aspects of their agreement at mediation, get legal advice on the agreement (which will be detailed in the Mediation Report), then have it drafted into the most appropriate legal agreement (whether it be a parenting plan, court order or binding financial agreement).

Can mediation happen over the phone?2018-09-22T09:33:43+00:00

Yes.  We regularly assist clients who live out of Sydney or are overseas.  Both intakes and joint sessions can take place over the phone.

“If you have any other questions about our services, please don’t hesitate to ask”

Emily Robertson

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner
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