Family Dispute Resolution
The Family Law Act requires that before applying to the court for a parenting order a person must make a genuine effort to resolve their dispute by family dispute resolution. This is not marriage counselling but attending mediation services that are designed to help couples resolve their disputes without needing to go to court.
A genuine effort in good faith must be made by both parents participating in the mediation process. Unnecessarily postponing meetings, refusing to agree on small matters, shifting your position when agreement is in sight; adopting a non-negotiable position are some instances of not participating in good faith.
If mediation fails, the mediator will issue each participant with an attendance certificate which is then filed with a court application for parenting orders.
When attending mediation usually each person participating will meet with the mediator, in some cases the mediator may require each participant to undergo some counselling or training to prepare them for mediation. Mediation can be conducted by telephone, in separate rooms or face to face. The mediator facilitates discussions between the participants helping them explore dispute resolving options.
If agreement is reached, a parenting plan in writing signed and dated by the attendees may be produced. The plan may outline who the children will live with, how the children will spend time with each parent, communication between parents and each child, how the plan will be updated and so on. A
parenting plan can be made into a Court order for which legal assistance is needed.
Given its importance, you should seek legal advice as part of your preparation for mediation. Geoff Yeo from Peacockes Solicitors can assist so call today on 0448 673 924.