Lots of separated couples have an awareness that going to Court or using lawyers is going to be an expensive waste of money, but sadly end up going down the legal path when they find trying to negotiate amongst themselves, or when getting a close friend or family member to “mediate” just doesn’t work.
It is compulsory to try mediation before you go to Court to argue about parenting matters, and you might find your lawyer or the Court referring you to mediation, also called Family Dispute Resolution Mediation, or FDR, isn’t compulsory in property matters but it’s growing quickly as the most cost-effective choice for couples splitting up their assets.
Coming to mediation allows you to negotiate with your ex-partner in a voluntary, safe, professional and neutral environment. Things you try and say to each other alone seem to end up causing fights – somehow saying the same thing with a mediator keeps things calmer, and more constructive.
Too many couples miss the mediation step and when negotiating through lawyers doesn’t work, find themselves in Court, faced with a non-negotiable decision by a judge that feels unfair or disempowering. Despite how upset and angry you may feel when starting the Court battle, it never feels good down the track when tens of thousands of dollars have been spent and hurtful things have been (repeatedly) said.
Just like Court, is unrealistic to think you will get everything your way in mediation. What you WILL get out of mediation is that you choose a compromised position that you can live with.
If you aren’t happy with the outcome – you end the process, as mediation is voluntary. You can always choose the Court pathway if you can’t find an outcome at mediation that you are comfortable with – but in all honesty, with the majority of our clients we find that rarely happens.