In many instances, effective mediation at an early stage can avoid lengthy, costly and emotionally draining contested court proceedings. This may save you significant time, money and worry.
Regarding the process, you and your partner can attend mediation without solicitors initially to see if any progress can be made. There may be a benefit in so attending because you can avoid an initial adversarial type approach which solicitors often adopt. It will also obviously reduce your legal fees at the outset. An adversarial approach can always be taken at a later stage if necessary.
If at any time, you feel you want or need a solicitor present, you can always adjourn an appointment to obtain legal representation.
All discussions at mediation are ‘off the record’ or ‘without prejudice’ and so cannot be used against you at a later stage or referred to in later court proceedings.
Regarding property issues, at the very least, you may be able to agree on the assets, financial resources, superannuation and income positions for both, even if you are unable to agree how they should be divided.
Regarding parenting, you may be able to establish those issues which are currently preventing you from reaching an overall agreement even if you are unable to overcome those issues immediately. This will all be good progress.
If you and your partner make decent progress and reach a tentative agreement in the absence of lawyer representation at the mediation centre, you can always obtain independent legal advice upon it before finally committing.
Any parenting plan secured at mediation ought to be enshrined within a formal parenting order in court if you wish to rely on it and enforce it at a later stage. A parenting plan cannot be enforced in a court. A formal parenting order can be although the process can be somewhat complicated and potentially problematic.
If parenting issues do not settle at mediation, you will, at least, be issued with what’s called a ‘section 60(i)’ certificate in respect to parenting issues, something that is usually required before being able to issue a parenting application at court.
If you have any questions regarding this mediation or have a family law matter you would like to discuss you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact the Greenhalgh Pickard offices on 07 5444 1022.