Family Law Mediation
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a process designed to assist separated families develop Parenting and Property Agreements without the inconvenience, emotional distress and financial expense of going to court.
Click here for a brochure outlining our process and pricing.
Family separation can be a time of great stress and uncertainty - especially for children.
What is Family Dispute Resolution? Family law in Australia has undergone a number of changes in recent decades, with the introduction of compulsory mediation for separated families being one of the most notable. Put simply, separated families who cannot reach agreement around childcare arrangements are now legally required to make a genuine effort to resolve their dispute through mediation before applying to have their matter dealt with in court (exceptions apply). The overriding principles of Family Law legislation are now grounded in the rights of the child and responsibilities of parents and care providers.
Family Dispute Resolution (aka Mediation) offers a neutral space in which parents and care-providers can discuss parenting arrangements and develop a Parenting Agreement and/or Property Agreement that best meets the changing needs of their family.
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (aka Mediators) are legally obliged to a) provide information about family separation, b) be impartial and c) create an environment in which parents and care-providers feel free to ask questions and speak openly and honestly about their family situation. Mediation basically offers a way for families to remain in control of their future.
Who can initiate Mediation? Anyone with an ongoing interest in the care and well-being of a child can initiate mediation for the purpose of establishing a Parenting Agreement or Property Settlement. This includes parents (regardless of marital status); step-parents, grandparents and other extended family members as well as significant others. The legislation also covers separated families who do not have children but wish to establish a Property Agreement.
What is involved in Mediation at Northern Frontiers? Northern Frontiers offers a staged mediation process as follows:
Step 1: Intake & Assessment undertaken individually by initiating party (Party A). Permission sought to contact the other party and assess willingness to mediate. If 'Yes' we proceed as follows...
Step 2: Intake & Assessment undertaken individually by other party (Party B)
Step 3: Preparing to Mediate session undertaken by Party A.
Step 4: Preparing to Mediate session undertaken by Party B.
Step 5: 1st mediation session - facilitated by an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (Mediator).
Additional mediation sessions may be required depending on progress made in 1st mediation session.
The Mediator records any agreement made in the form of a Parenting Agreement or Property Agreement. Both parties receive a copy of their agreement along with referral to legal advice and/or other services as deemed appropriate.
IMPORTANT: In some circumstances the Mediator may assess your matter as 'Not appropriate for mediation' and issue a S60I certificate. This may occur at any stage of the mediation process. Because mediators are bound by strict confidentiality you are encouraged to direct any questions you may have about a S60I certificate to your legal adviser.
Reading material: Julie Hodge, one of Cairns’ leading Family Lawyers has recently published a book that assists parents through the separation process. For more information, or to purchase a copy, please click here.
Is Mediation expensive? Northern Frontiers is a family-owned and operated business offering prompt fee-for-service mediation to Far North Queensland (including rural and remote locations) and the wider Australian community. Our services are offered in person, via telephone or teleconferencing - which means you have the option of mediating from the comfort of your own home. No need to spend money on travel or disrupt your work week. We strive to keep fees low whilst still maintaining high quality, personalised service. Our resources are well-managed which means there are no lengthy wait times. You can usually undertake your first session within 1-3 days (including weekends) of your initial inquiry.
Is my family situation too complicated for Mediation? Northern Frontiers believes every family circumstance is different which is why our services are tailored towards understanding and meeting your family’s unique needs. We believe most parents and care-providers want to help children cope well with family separation so we’re here to listen to your individual concerns and provide information to assist you in reaching child-friendly parenting arrangements and/or property agreement.
Do I also need a Lawyer? Northern Frontiers recommends you seek legal advice before, during and after mediation. This is to ensure your parenting or property agreement is founded in current Family Law principles i.e. 'in the best interest of the child' and is 'fair and equitable'.
How soon can I begin Mediation? As soon as you like! No need to wait any longer to establish parenting arrangements and/or property agreement that will enable you to manage your family separation in such a way that enables everyone to move on safely.
Appointment times: In addition to normal business hours, Northern Frontiers offers 7.00 am appointments as well as Saturday and Sunday appointments. No need to disrupt your work schedule. Out of hours appointments tend to fill fast so please book early to avoid disappointment. Simply call 1300 90 81 70 or email: email@example.com