At its simplest there are two ways to resolve family law disputes in Australia
One way is to engage in litigation, after which a Judge will be called upon to decide orders binding the parties.
Another way is for the parties themselves to come to an agreement as to how the dispute will be resolved.
The benefits of reaching agreements are overwhelmingly ahead of litigation. For example:
Litigation is notoriously costly, lengthy and unpredictable in terms of the outcomes.
Litigation in Australia is adversarial, and as such by its nature creates a competitive atmosphere between the parties.
Usually in Family Law disputes the parties are emotional and conflicted and thus litigation can often “fuel the fire”.
In parenting or custody disputes where relationships between parties are ongoing, and can impact upon the emotional wellbeing of children, the advantages of agreements over litigation are even more obvious.
Reaching agreements is not always easy for people in high conflict, especially in the context of the stressful and emotional turmoil of relationship breakdown.
Mediation with a trained mediator is designed to help by:
Addressing imbalances due to relationship difficulties and conflict;
Facilitate communication and generate discussion between the parties in a safe environment;
Assist negotiations, leading to the parties themselves forming lasting agreements.
No matter how difficult or intractable a dispute may seem, mediation provides the best opportunity of early resolution at considerably less expense.
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