Mediation – When you don’t want to go to Court
Many new clients come to us saying “I don’t want to go to Court”, and at McLaughlins, we understand that. Court is not only stressful for you, but it impacts on your co-parenting, your work, your social life, not to mention the bank account.
Aside from Collaborative Law, Mediation is a great alternative to going to Court. You maintain control over your matter, rather than a Court making a decision that may not be palatable to you.
What are the steps to Mediation?
Mediation takes place by jointly agreeing to appoint a Mediator. This is usually a fellow practitioner, Barrister or retired Judge who practises in Family Law and is trained in the art of Mediation.
We then agree to meet at a particular venue. Sometimes a neutral venue is used, such as Barristers’ Chambers or a Courthouse Meeting room, but often the Mediation takes place at one of the Lawyers’ offices. Our facilities have a large boardroom and “break-out” rooms on separate floors. The benefit of these separate spaces is helpful in matters where one party might not want to see the other, or when confidential discussions need to take place between a lawyer and their client.
The Mediator will take time to speak with each client and their lawyer individually so that the Mediator can gain a personal insight into what each party hopes to achieve from the time allotted for the mediation.
The Mediator then opens the process, using his or her skills and knowledge to help assist the parties reach an amicable agreement.
How long does a Mediation take?
In most matters, Lawyers and the Mediator set aside the entire day to dedicate to the matter. Your matter might not need all that time, but it is useful to have the time available to ensure that if the parties are close to reaching an agreement, all involved in the process can commit to staying until we work it our together.
Can I go straight to Mediation? What happens if the other party does not want to go to Mediation?
The Courts actively encourage the parties to participate in Mediation at any stage of their matter. The Courts would rather parties reach agreement to resolve their issues, than battle it out in Court. Where one party wants to proceed to a Mediation and the other does not, if appropriate, the Court may Order a Mediation. In matters where property is to be discussed, it is beneficial to ensure your matter is properly prepared for Mediation. This may include ensuring the obligations of full and frank disclosure have been complied with, or perhaps that valuations have been obtained where there are values of assets in dispute.