Services > Mediation

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process to help separating families reach their own agreements. It is managed by a neutral and qualified Family Dispute Resolution practitioner. The mediator helps parties resolve disputes on:

  • What to do about care of children;

  • Parenting disputes;

  • Dividing up property; and/or

  • Financial support and spousal maintenance.

What if I do not want to go to mediation?

Mediation is not the right approach for everyone. We can assess your circumstances to see if it would be helpful for you.

However, if you want to apply to a family law court for parenting orders it is compulsory for you to attempt mediation before applying.

There are some exceptions to this, such as:

  • When you are formalising an agreement by ‘consent orders’;

  • Where family violence or child abuse is a factor; or

  • When issues are urgent.

What if I have received a referral to mediation from my ex-partner, and there has been family violence?

Mediation may not be appropriate if there has been or is family violence. But, if you want to attend, and the mediator is prepared to mediate, you do not have to attend with your ex-partner. Mediation may be conducted safely without any contact or face-to-face meetings between you and your ex-partner.

If mediation is unsuccessful can I apply for family law orders?

Yes – following mediation, or an attempt to mediate, the mediator will issue a certificate, to show that the parties have tried to mediate. You can file that certificate with your application for family law orders to prove this to the Court.

How much will mediation cost me? Are the costs shared by the other party?

The cost of mediation ranges from lower cost, community-based family services which have a standard fee policy based on capacity to pay, to private mediations which generally cost more.

Costs of mediation are met by each party.

You usually attend a community-based mediation (such as the service operated by Relationships Australia) on your own, and without a lawyer.

Victoria Legal Aid operates a means-tested mediation through Family Disputes Resolution Centre, where you must attend with a lawyer.

Private mediations, using a privately appointed mediator, are usually more expensive. You typically have your lawyer there to assist you and must meet the costs of your lawyer, the mediator and the venue hire costs.

No matter which option you choose, mediation is a more cost-effective way to resolving your dispute than going to Court or protracted negotiations between parties.

To have the best chance of a successful mediation, it is essential to prepare well for it, and to obtain legal advice before you attend. This will give you a clear goal and the best opportunity to achieve lasting and workable arrangements.

Can mediation reach a binding outcome?

Yes. A successful mediation will result in an agreement as to parenting or property matters.

That agreement can then be drawn up into consent orders or a binding financial agreement which will be enforceable by the Courts.

We can assist you to ensure that any agreement reached at mediation is clearly documented and, if you wish, enforceable by the Courts.

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