Mediation2024-06-14T11:55:20+10:00

MEDIATION

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution that can be used for parenting and/or financial matters.

Mediation is a confidential process whereby a trained person assists two or more people (and often their lawyers), to negotiate a mutually satisfactory resolution to their dispute. It is a form of “assisted” or “facilitated” negotiation.

Mediation offers parties and lawyers a safe, confidential and secure environment to take their negotiations to the next level by introducing a neutral third person ie. a mediator. The mediator manages the negotiation process and provides a level playing field for parties to explore settlement.

Types of Mediation.

Facilitative model.

The most common model is the facilitative model where the mediator’s role includes controlling the mediation process, facilitating discussion and generally assisting the parties to reach an acceptable agreement.

The goal of this model is for the parties to come to an agreement based on information sharing and understanding.

It is about exploring each party’s needs and interests and the parties themselves being in control of the decisions made.

Evaluative model.

An evaluative model is one where the mediator expresses their view about the issues in dispute and takes a more active role in exploring and reality testing some solutions.

The mediator may express their opinion about the merits of some of the competing proposals in the context of considering what the outcome might be should the matter proceed to a hearing before a Judge. Such views or opinions however, are not legal advice and parties are always encouraged to seek their own legal advice.

The Mediation process.

The benefits of Mediation.

  • The participants are in control of the outcome
  • Improves communication, particularly in the context of an ongoing co-parenting relationship
  • It is confidential
  • It is quick to arrange
  • It can deal with all issues related to your family law matter, ie. parenting and financial
  • Participants can attend with or without their lawyers
  • A mutually convenient venue can be arranged for the mediation to take place or it can occur via video conferencing

You can separate smarter.

Did you know, you don’t need to argue? If it is safe to do so, there is a better way to separate. You can take ownership of your dispute. This video produced by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia provides tips on how to separate smarter – whether you agree or partially agree, perhaps you can’t agree at all.

Why choose us for your Mediation?

At Separation Solutions, Mediation is our core business.  We recognise that every dispute is unique, and we approach each case with a tailored, client-centred and where applicable, child-focussed approach.  Our Mediators possess exceptional communication and negotiation skills which leverages the experience gained by them in both the Court setting and private setting.  Our Mediators endeavour to empower parties to make decisions that allow them to move forward with their lives after what can often be the most difficult and emotional phase of their life.  They facilitate productive dialogue in a safe and respectful environment conducive to open dialogue and creative solutions.

Mediation packages.

 

Mediator Half Day Mediation Full Day Mediation Overtime Rate
Belinda Crawford $3,700 $6,200 $850/hr
Joanne Chayna $3,300 $5,500 $750/hr
Cynthia Bluett $2,700 $4,500 $650/hr
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon

 

Pricing is inclusive of GST and is shared equally between parties unless otherwise agreed in writing.

Inclusions.

Half Day Mediation

  • Pre-mediation conference of up to 1 hour with each party by video conference
  • Mediation for 3.5 hours by Video Conference (in person by special request)
  • Reading of any relevant, agreed material (eg. balance sheet, case summaries)
  • Suitable for:
  • Simple financial case, “house and garden”
  • Parenting cases with limited issues

Full Day Mediation

  • Pre-mediation conference of up to 1 hour with each party by video conference
  • Mediation from 9.30am-5pm in person or by video conference
  • Travel within the Sydney Metropolitan area
  • Reading of any relevant, agreed material (eg. balance sheet, case summaries)
  • Suitable for:
  • Cases involving both parenting and financial issues
  • Complex cases with multiple issues/disputes to discuss
  • Mediations requiring shuttle

Additional fees.

  • Additional time needed for the mediation, if available, is charged at the Mediator’s hourly overtime rate.
  • If a venue is required, this can be arranged, and the cost met directly by the parties.

Cancellation policy.

We understand situations can arise in which you must cancel or postpone your scheduled event. Due to limited appointment availability, we request that we are provided with adequate notice as this allows us to fill that appointment slot. If the notice provided is not within the minimum acceptable notice period of 15 days or greater, you will be charged a cancellation fee. Full details of our cancellation policy and fees can be found HERE.

Frequently asked questions.

Where are our offices?2023-07-05T21:10:37+10:00

Separation Solutions operate out of virtual offices.  We operate in this fashion to provide the convenience and flexibility of conducting the event in a location, within the Sydney Metropolitan Area, that suits our clients.  This could be at either solicitor’s office, via video conferencing or in an alternative meeting space that meets the needs of the event.  We have a pre-approved list of venues available in Sydney and surrounds available on our website “Resources” page and are always here to assist in securing alternative options.  For any events involving client’s that are interstate, overseas or in regional areas, we recommend video conferencing.

Where do the Mediations and Arbitrations take place?2023-07-09T11:00:12+10:00

There are 2 options for the location of our events as follows:

  1. Video conferencing; and
  2. In person at a mutually agreed location within the Sydney Metropolitan area. This might include a solicitor’s office or a hired venue.  You can view some of our venue options on our website “Resources” page.

Travel in the Sydney metropolitan area is included in the cost of our full-day events.  The cost of any hired venue however, is generally met equally between the parties.  For any events involving client’s that are interstate, overseas or in regional areas, we recommend video conferencing although we can explore travel at the cost of the client.

What is a Mediation Intake Form?2023-03-08T11:40:24+11:00

A Mediation Intake Form is a form that each party is required to complete within 7 days of booking a Mediation with us.  It provides the Mediator with important information about the matter and the history and issues in the case.  It takes about 5-10 minutes to complete the form and is best completed by a client’s lawyer, if they have one.  If there is no lawyer involved, a party can complete the form on their own behalf.

What is a Pre-Mediation Conference?2023-03-08T11:42:09+11:00

A Pre-Mediation Conference is an intake session 1-2 weeks before the Mediation takes place.  Each of the party’s and if they have one, their lawyer, attends (independently of the other party) to discuss the matter with the Mediator. It is an opportunity for the parties to get to know the Mediator and ask any questions they may have about the process. It is also an opportunity for the Mediator to understand each party’s interests and goals for the Mediation.  The Mediator asks a variety of questions to gain a better understanding of what each party considers important and why any negotiations in the past have not been successful.  They will also obtain some history about the matter and where parenting is involved, seek information about the child/ren.  The Mediator will also check if the matter is suitable for Mediation and will explain more about the Mediation process and how parties can prepare for the Mediation.

A Pre-Mediation Conference is confidential and takes place via video conferencing for up to 1 hour.

Who attends a Pre-Mediation Conference?2023-03-08T11:43:04+11:00

A party and their lawyer, if they have one, should attend the Pre-Mediation Conference.  The conference should be booked about 1-2 weeks prior to the mediation.

How long does a Pre-Mediation Conference take?2023-03-08T11:43:55+11:00

A Pre-Mediation Conference generally takes up to 60 minutes depending on the issues involved. Typically, if the matter involves parenting or financial issues on their own, the Pre-Mediation Conference tends to be shorter, however if the matter involves both parenting and financial issues, it generally takes longer. The complexity of the matter and number of issues involved also determines how long the Pre-Mediation Conference may take.

How do I prepare for the Pre-Mediation Conference?2024-06-03T13:27:21+10:00

When a booking is made for a Mediation with us, we send out a Mediation Intake Form for the completion of each party. Where a lawyer is representing a party, it is the lawyer that completes the form. That form includes basic details regarding the matter including whether it involves parenting and/or financial issues and what the main areas of dispute are. The Mediation Intake form should be completed in advance of the Pre-Mediation Conference so your Mediator has a basic understanding of the issues and background.

In advance of the Pre-Mediation Conference, a party may wish to have a list of questions they would like to ask the Mediator. Otherwise, there is nothing further that a party is required to do to prepare for the Pre-Mediation Conference and they should simply be ready to answer the Mediator’s questions on the day of the session.

What information or documents do I need to provide for the Mediation?2023-07-05T21:09:55+10:00

If there are proceedings on foot and the Court has directed a party to provide the Mediator with documents for the Mediation, these should be provided in accordance with the orders, or at least one week before the Mediation.  Otherwise, it would be helpful if each party provided the following for the Mediation:

  1. A balance sheet listing all assets, liabilities, superannuation and financial resources of each party (if it is a financial matter)
  2. A Minute of Proposed Orders (which is the document setting out the arrangements/agreement or orders a party wishes to put in place); and
  3. A Mediation/Case Outline document.  Such document should focus on the issues for discussion and the parameters of the dispute including the proposed percentage split and/or parenting orders/arrangement being sought and the basis for the proposed split and/or parenting arrangements.  A brief chronology of important dates/facts can also be of assistance.

If there are other documents that you think the Mediator would benefit from receiving, feel free to provide those as well, for example, Court documents, disclosure documents, orders, searches, expert reports, Child Impact Reports or valuations.  All communication to our office should be to admin@separationsolutions.com.au and must include the other party on any such communications.

Can I have a support person at my Mediation?2023-03-14T12:26:42+11:00

Support persons can be considered however, the other party to the Mediation must be informed of the proposed support person and agree to their attendance at the Mediation. We do suggest however, that the support person is impartial and not someone who may agitate the other party (eg. a new partner or family member that they may have previously had a conflict with).  A support person cannot be part of any joint session throughout the Mediation but can be in a separate room when a party has their private session with their lawyer.  A support person will also be required to complete a Confidentiality Acknowledgement and Undertaking that we send out.

The other party has a lawyer and I don’t: Does that put me at a disadvantage?2023-03-08T11:49:22+11:00

It is a personal choice whether a party seeks out the services of a Family Lawyer or participates in the Mediation without legal assistance.  We do however, strongly recommend that all parties seek legal advice before any Mediation. A Family Lawyer has specialised legal training and understands how the legal system works and how the law may apply to the case. A lawyer will be able to advise a party on the best way to negotiate and whether the proposals being made are a just and equitable result in the case of a financial matter and whether the parenting arrangements are in the best interests of the child/ren.

If a party makes the choice not to engage a Family Lawyer, we recommend using the resources offered on the Federal Circuit & Family Law Courts Website www.fcfcoa.gov.au to become familiar with the family court process and basic family law principles. A party is responsible for own research and complying with the relevant court Rules.

Should I book a full-day or half-day mediation?2023-03-14T09:43:40+11:00

We recommend a half-day mediation be booked for straightforward financial cases where the issues are limited, or parenting cases with non-complex matters to discuss. We recommend a booking for a full-day mediation for cases which involve both parenting and financial issues.

Cases that involve complex and/or multiple issues also require a full-day Mediation and matters requiring the Mediation to be conducted via shuttle would generally also require a full day. If you are unsure whether to book a half-day or full-day Mediation, please contact our friendly staff to request a call from one of our Mediators to discuss this further.

Do you have cancellation fees?2023-03-14T09:45:32+11:00

We do impose cancellation fees if an event is cancelled within 14 days of the booked date.  By making a booking, you agree to our cancellation policy.

Is Mediation confidential?2023-03-14T09:50:10+11:00

Subject to the extent permitted by law and any safety concerns, the Mediation is strictly confidential and where court proceedings are on foot or being contemplated, the negotiations and any offers cannot be disclosed to any Judicial Officer of the Court.  This is important as it encourages participants to discuss and identify issues frankly, to make concessions and to compromise where appropriate.

How long are the mediations?2023-03-14T09:51:07+11:00

A full-day mediation commences at 9.30am and concludes at 5pm. A half-day mediation is allocated 3.5 hours and usually starts at 9.30am, 10am, 1.30pm or 2pm.  We can make minor adjustments to these times if parties are attending from overseas or interstate.

In the event a full day mediation extends beyond 5pm or a half day mediation extends beyond 3.5 hours, an overtime rate will be charged in accordance with our Mediation Agreement.  The mediator will discuss any overtime with the parties prior to continuing the matter beyond the allocated time.

How to prepare for a financial mediation?2023-03-14T09:57:30+11:00

Each party has a duty to make a full and frank disclosure of all the relevant information in accordance with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021. If you have a lawyer, they will guide you as to what documents are required to be prepared and exchanged with the other party.  If the Mediation is Court ordered, you will need to comply with the directions made by the Court for the provision of material to the Mediator.

Your Mediator would be assisted by a Case Outline document setting out your proposal for the Mediation.  A joint balance sheet setting out each party’s assets, liabilities, superannuation and financial resources is also paramount.  Such documents should be sent to the Mediator 7 days before the Mediation.

Any Court documents can also be sent to your Mediator along with valuations, disclosure documents and other supporting material.  Please note however, that any documents sent to the Mediator must also be sent to the other party at the same time.

How to prepare for a parenting mediation?2023-03-14T09:58:36+11:00

Each party has a duty to make a full and frank disclosure of all the relevant information in accordance with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021. If you have a lawyer, they will guide you as to what documents are required to be prepared and exchanged with the other party.  If the Mediation is Court ordered, you will need to comply with the directions made by the Court for the provision of material to the Mediator.

Your Mediator would be assisted by a Case Outline document and/or Minute of Order setting out your proposal for the Mediation.  A list of topics you wish to discuss in relation to the children can also assist.   Such documents should be sent to the Mediator 7 days before the Mediation.

Any Court documents can also be sent to your Mediator along with any reports or memos prepared by a Court Child Expert or privately appointed expert. If there are any relevant reports by treating medical health care practitioners, these documents can also be of assistance. Please note however, that any documents sent to the Mediator must also be sent to the other party at the same time.

Am I required to give an Opening Statement at the Mediation?2023-03-14T10:10:21+11:00

Opening statements are purely optional.  They are an opportunity, however, to express your goals for the mediation, what is important for you to discuss at the Mediation and what you would like the future to look like.  Opening statements should be brief, positive, future focussed and if children are involved, child-focussed.

Why isn’t the Mediator that I want available?2023-04-12T09:26:18+10:00

Given our extensive experience in the Family Law space, our services are in high demand and you can generally expect to wait 2-3 months for a booking.  Our Mediators will generally conduct mediations on 3 days per week and spend the other days conducting Pre-Mediation Conferences and preparing for the Mediations for that week.  We strive to ensure that each Mediation receives our full attention and commitment, and preparation is key to this.  To increase our availability and ensure there are appointments available for as many clients as possible, we have a cancellation policy to encourage parties to book a Mediation only when the matter is ready for that.  We also operate a mailing list so that if there are last-minute cancellations or availability, we can contact those on our mailing list. If you would like to subscribe to our mailing list.  Our mailing list emails are sent on a very limited basis and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Is the online booking calendar always up to date?2023-07-09T11:29:23+10:00

Yes, the most accurate and up-to-date reflection of our availability can be found at our “Bookings” page.  Given the online bookings page is accessible to anyone wanting to hire our services, you may find that a date is available on one day, and then it is unavailable the next as we receive daily bookings.  We recommend that if you are interested in securing a date, you immediately contact the other party to confirm their agreement to the date and book as soon as possible to avoid the date being taken by another matter.  You can also subscribe to our mailing list to be notified of any cancellations or last-minute availability.  Our mailing list emails are sent on a very limited basis and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Does my Lawyer need to attend the Pre-Mediation Conference with me?2023-03-28T15:48:44+11:00

Yes. We request that if you have a lawyer, they attend the Pre-Mediation Conference with you.  The Conference will take no more than 1 hour and will take place via video conferencing. You and your lawyer can attend from the same or separation locations.

Do we provide Dispute Resolution Services for the LGBTIQ community?2024-01-25T16:36:16+11:00

At Separation Solutions, we are experienced in assisting LGBTIQ couples and former spouses in resolving their disagreements around children’s matters and property and financial matters.

Do you do Child Inclusive Mediations? How do they work?2024-04-30T09:28:28+10:00

Yes we conduct Child Inclusive Mediations.

Child Inclusive Mediations, also known as Child Inclusive Practice, is a process that enables a child to have their voice heard in the family mediation process. Not all matters are appropriate for Child Inclusive Mediations. Both parents must consent to their child’s participation

In Child-Inclusive Mediations, a child consultant will spend individual time with your child to help them to talk about their thoughts and feelings.

The child consultant will then spend time providing feedback to you and the mediator. The child consultant is a neutral person in the process.

How does it work?

We work with several highly skilled child consultants who we can recommend to you. They are all specialists with additional training to practice their role. You can contact the consultants directly to decide if they would be suitable for your family and to ascertain their costs.

If the child consultant assesses that Child Inclusive Mediation will be a helpful and appropriate process, they will organise a time to see your child or children. Your child is given a neutral and safe space to share their feelings about separation and the family situation.

A feedback session will then take place. Depending on the issues and the child consultant’s recommendations, this may be separately with each parent, with both parents at the same time or during the mediation itself. Your child does not attend the Mediation, however their feelings and thoughts are taken into account to help inform parenting decisions.

We are happy to discuss this with you further if you think it may be of assistance in your matter.

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