Can a mediator give me a divorce?
No, getting a divorce is separate to making parenting arrangements or a property settlement. When you separate, regardless whether you are divorced or not, you may need to make important decisions about the future care of your children and how to divide your property, money and belongings. These matters can be resolved at Mediation.
Divorce is the official ending of a marriage. When the divorce becomes final you are free to marry. You cannot remarry unless you get a divorce. Staying married affects your rights and obligations for financial matters, wills and estates. Getting a divorce is done by completing an Application for Divorce (with certain accompanying documents). For information on divorce applications, please click here.
What happens if we agree at Mediation?
If you reach an agreement in Mediation, the Mediator can prepare a Heads of Agreement to be signed by both parties on the day of the Mediation. For the agreement reached to be binding and enforceable, it can be drafted into Court Order if you want it to be.
Lawyers don’t usually attend Mediation however it is up to you. Should an agreement be reached, Mediators encourage you to get advice from a lawyer about whether your agreement makes sense for you. At any time throughout the Mediation, you are welcome to contact a lawyer or financial advisor to obtain advice.
If you want a lawyer but can’t afford one, talk to the Mediator who may be able to help you find free or low cost legal services.
What if I have concerns about things on the day of Mediation?
Most people get nervous when attending Mediation and this is normal and expected, however it is very important that you let the Mediator know whenever you feel distressed or uneasy on the day of Mediation. For most people it is a difficult day.
You are welcome to bring a support person with you on the day of Mediation, however you will both need to agree if they will be in attendance in the room when confidential information is being shared. If you do bring a support person to your Mediation, please go through the terms of the Mediation Agreement (in particular, to the Confidentiality terms) carefully and check that they understand them.
You may or may not have seen your former partner for a while and there may be things that arise that you had not previously known about that you may need to consider when you make your decisions. When these issues arise, you may feel emotional, anger, sadness, disappointment or regret. It is normal and expected.
Your expectations of outcomes may be challenged. Being confronted with these things can be uncomfortable to hear at times, but it is important that you understand the consequences of your expectations or the decisions that you make.
Be reassured, that everything discussed in the private sessions with the Mediator is confidential, so you can feel comfortable to be as open and honest as you like with the Mediator. It is important to be open and honest with the Meditator whenever these things arise so we can discuss it fully.
What will it cost?
Please refer to the Schedule of Fees.
Is Mediation about trying to get us to stay together?
Mediators help you work out what happens after you split up .. they won’t try and get you are your ex-partner back together.
Can you provide me with a s60I Certificate?
Yes, our Mediators are practicing Senior Family Lawyers who are registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners, and can provide parties with the s 60I certificate in appropriate circumstances.
How do I prepare for mediation?
Please download our Checklist on Preparing for Mediation to print and read, so that you are fully prepared.
What happens on the Mediation day?
Generally, the Mediator will welcome each party and will go through the Mediation process and rules of the Mediation.
Each party will be asked to talk about their goals and concerns with respect to settling the matters. This will be done without interruption from the other party and each will have the opportunity to have their say and the same amount of time will be afforded to both.
The Mediator will identify any common ground and clarify the issues left in dispute. The Mediator will outline the issues to be resolved and put it into an Agenda to provide structure to the Mediation.
Each party will be asked to explain their position to the other regarding each issue listed on the Agenda. The parties will also be asked to explore options for resolving any points in issue and thereafter will undertake separate discussions with the Mediator to further explore their options to settle. An agreement will then be reached if suitable to both.
What if I’d rather go to Court?
The Court process can take up to 2-3 years and is often very expensive and emotionally draining on the family and children. If you go to Court, you give your decision making power to the Judge who decides your property division and matters involving your children. It is unpredictable as the Judge may or may not like you or believe you.
If you have children and cannot agree on parenting arrangements, it is mandatory to attend FDR Mediation prior to filing court proceedings (with some exceptions).
If you and your former partner cannot agree on how to divide your property and finances and you end up in Court, the Court often refers you to Mediation to try to work things out, before asking the Judge to decide.
Can I discuss what happens at the Mediation with others?
Any decisions, offers made or anything said at Mediation is confidential and cannot be later used in Court, however the parties can agree on what can said publicly.
Remember, you made a good decision to enter into Mediation as it is a lot less stressful than going to Court and Mediation will give you the opportunity to start your new life respectfully and peacefully.
Remember, this is your day where you make the decisions.