In the context of family law disputes, unfortunately for many, the default position is to seek legal help and pursue a resolution through litigation. Whilst this approach is largely borne out of people simply not knowing all of their options, it can be a dangerous and expensive approach.
The far better way to consider your family law dispute is to be resolution focussed. In other words, whatever is the best way to resolve your dispute with the minimal amount of collateral damage and of course, minimal expense.
Let’s look at the commonly used resolution practices in solving family law issues.
Family Law Mediation works! It’s really as simple as that, providing that you and your ex-partner have a willingness to resolve your matter. Mediation is a compulsory step in all family law matters, so there’s really no way out of it, so you and your ex-partner should take the opportunity seriously. There are of course exceptions to this compulsory mediation step, in particular where there is the prevalence of domestic violence etc.
Mediation simply put is a process in which the issues that are in dispute between you and your ex-partner are identified by you both and you agree to do your very best to resolve them. The mediator is an impartial facilitator who through their skill set will assist you both resolve and reach an agreement. The mediation doesn’t necessarily have to occur with both you and your ex-partner in the same room. The mediator can work between you both in separate rooms etc.
Mediation can occur over one day or multiple depending upon the complexity of the issues involved.
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Like mediation, the practice called “collaborative law” is resolution focused without relying on litigation. The most significant difference is that mediation does not necessarily rely on lawyers being involved where collaborative law does. The other very important feature of collaborative law is that the family lawyers acting for each of you agree with you that litigation is not an option. By removing litigation as a fallback position it can assist in focusing you and your ex-partner on a resolution. Similarly, the lawyers are also solely focused on the resolution without court intervention because they are bound by the same agreement. In the case that you and your ex-partner wish to cease the collaborative law process, you can do so, but it cannot be with the same lawyers.
Collaborative law can work very well if you and your ex-partner would like legal help along the way without that help being centred towards litigation.
In the context of family law disputes, only a very small number of matters really need court intervention. Using the courts and lawyers to resolve your dispute is expensive, very lengthy and the issues in dispute have a tendency to become more complex. There is a plethora of research available that clearly shows time and time again that the worst way to resolve the far majority of family law matters is through litigation.
At the time of writing this article, the average time to resolve a family law dispute through litigation is approximately 3 years, with legal fees invariably in the range of $100,000 – $600,000. Not to mention the emotional impact that is had by all involved.
Which is best for you?
The quickest and most inexpensive way to resolve family law matters is through mediation. That said, there are a number of things to consider in determining whether mediation or collaborative law is for you.
Take us up on our offer for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about which method of resolution best suits your circumstance.
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