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The Cost of Divorce in Australia

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The Cost of Divorce in Australia doesn’t have to be as high as you may think. It’s likely that you have heard of the horror stories of family lawyers who have charged so much that there wasn’t much left after they took out their fees. While those stories are sometimes true, the cost of divorce in Australia doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive.

The Cost of Divorce in Australia

But first things first. Are you looking for information about the actual cost to file a divorce application as opposed to the cost to resolve a family law dispute?

If you are looking for information relating to the former, at Mediations Australia, our Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, family lawyers can assist you in filing that application for divorce. For more information in that regard, we recommend you click this link.

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The Cost to Resolve Your Family Law Dispute

If you’re still here, then you’re wanting to more broadly understand what it actually costs to resolve your family law dispute.  In this context, you may have separated and had disagreements with your former partner about a property settlement, parenting matters, child support, spousal maintenance, and possibly other issues.

In assessing the costs of divorce in this context, there are many factors you need to consider. At the outset, the first of which is that family lawyers aren’t cheap. The average cost per hour for a family lawyer in Australia is approximately $400 and this can climb to $700, depending upon the experience and expertise of the relevant lawyer. It’s not hard to see that if your family law matter is complex or you or your former partner are not willing to resolve it without going to court (litigation), then it’s not hard to see that the collective family law fees may be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Remember, the average time it takes to get a family law matter to Court in Australia is approximately 3.5 years. That’s a lot of legal fees.

That said, the cost of divorce in Australia doesn’t have to be expensive. You and your former partner can significantly reduce your legal fees by isolating the real issues causing the dispute and each of you has a willingness or preparedness to resolve the dispute through mediation.

The Importance of Looking at the Alternatives

Mediation is a mandatory step in all family law matters and to best reduce the cost of divorce is to resolve the issue at this juncture. The cost of mediation is approximately $3,000. It’s not hard to see why you and your former partner should be considering mediation over litigation.

That said, there are of course other alternatives to mediation. For example, if your family law dispute is complex, but you still want to have lawyers engaged in the process, arbitration may be a useful alternative.  In this case, like a court, your lawyers prepare the documents and present their case to an arbitrator, who acts as a family law judge. The arbitrator makes his or her decision, and their findings are legally-binding.

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Arbitration as a Litigation Alternative

Arbitration is a dispute resolution process that is conducted by a third party who does not have any connection to the parties involved in the dispute.

The arbitration process has been around for centuries and it has been used in many different contexts. It was initially used to settle disputes between merchants and traders, but today it is regularly used to resolve family law disputes.

Arbitration is often more cost-effective than litigation because there are no court costs and the arbitrator sets their own fee. At Mediations Australia, you can book a free, initial consultation to learn more about our arbitration fees.

The advantages of arbitration are that it is often less expensive than litigation; it can be completed more quickly; and it does not require public proceedings, which means that confidentiality can be maintained.

However, some disadvantages are that there are no appeals courts for arbitration decisions; there may not be as many procedural protections for the parties involved, and there may not be as much opportunity for discovery or questioning witnesses.

That said, in the context of minimising the costs of divorce, it is an excellent choice and is significantly cheaper than litigation.

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The Other Hidden Costs of Litigation

Family law disputes handled through litigation is a contact sport. In other words, it’s a brutal, demanding, fatiguing way to resolve a dispute about parenting, property or another issue. The impact of a family relationship breakdown has a massive impact on all involved, let alone considering the weight that litigation has on those strained relationships.

At Mediations Australia, we highly recommend that you consider your dispute primarily through this lens and get in and out of your dispute as quickly as possible.

What Should You Do Now?

The best way forward in all family law matters is to seek professional advice. Unfortunately, many people in this predicament can delay getting such advice which may worsen the dispute. At Mediations Australia, we offer a free, initial consultation on all matters relating to the cost of divorce in Australia.  Talk to one of our Sunshine Coast Mediation team today.

Getting legal advice early is the most important thing to do.

Sadly people often wait too long to get legal advice. Take advantage of our FREE consultation with a family law expert.

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