Why Mediate your Family Law dispute?
Posted: 19th November 2019
Posted in: News
Posted by: Luke Brandon, Partner
Clients often become exacerbated by what they perceive to be the rigidity of their former spouse’s position in their family law dispute. It is in this context that clients sometimes question the benefit or purpose of attending Mediation. Clients will express the view, “there’s no point” or that “it’s useless, they won’t compromise”.
I will quickly explain to clients that they do not have a choice and that it is a mandatory step in a family law dispute. But that is not the extent of my answer, because in my experience Mediations often bring about resolution notwithstanding how positional one or both of the parties had been in the lead up.
Mediation in family law disputes has, in my experience over the past 15+ years, come along way. When I first started attending Mediations, it was often 2 lawyers acting like bulls telling each other why they are right and the other is wrong. Lawyers demanding production of documents or evidence to prove what their client was asserting. The Mediator being a referee trying to placate the lawyers’ egos.
I am happy to say, that this no longer my experience at Mediation.
Family Law litigants situated in South East Queensland have the benefit of some of the finest family law Mediators in the Nation. These Mediators have changed the way Mediations are conducted and encouraged lawyers to transform from being chest beaters to problem solvers. The Court is the place to prove your case and argue your point. Mediation is a place to identify risks and come up with solutions which are often outside of what a Court is capable of coming up with. Mediator is really a great opportunity for there to be mutual benefit for both parties. No losers.
The need for Mediation to become such an effective tool for resolving family law disputes has been necessitated by the state of the family law courts and the serious under funding for Judges. I know a lot of my Colleagues consider that too many litigants are forced to settle at Mediation, because the alternative of proceeding to Court (the cost, the delay, the uncertainty) is just not palatable. Whilst I agree with my Colleagues that there are certainly instances of this, overwhelmingly the resolutions reached at Mediations are sensible, pragmatic and responsible outcomes.
So perhaps the better question is why not Mediate?