Mediation uses a neutral third party to assist a couple to reach agreement. In family law and in all relationships, partners are able to use mediation to resolve property settlements, custody matters and relationship issues.
Under the Family Law Act, since July 2007 separating couples may be required to undertake an alternative dispute resolution process — such as mediation — before a matter is allowed to go to court. This changes only in special circumstances such as domestic violence.
Mediation can take place over a number of weeks with one two-hour session per week, or mediations may be conducted over a full day, whichever is convenient to the parties.
Mediation can be an amicable and effective way to achieve agreements. It is often faster and less expensive than other processes such as litigation. It also often leads to decisions that both people feel happier about. The result is that compliance with any agreement reached is more likely.