FAMILY LAW & MEDIATION
Family Dispute Resoution (Mediation)
Mediation is a process by which people who are in conflict can be supported to communicate with each other about what is important for them and how to make decisions relevant to resolving their dispute. Mediation is now compulsory, meaning that people who wish to resolve disputes relevant to their children (parenting matters), are now required to attend mediation session and make a genuine effort to resolve issues, before they progress through the court system. Situations involving family violence, child abuse or extremely urgent matters are exempt from mediation. A section 60I certificate is required if you want to apply to the court for a parenting order. The certificate confirms that a genuine attempt at mediation was made. Mediators provide clients with support to sort out issues and develop acceptable solutions by adopting the "child focus" approach pursuant to the Family Law.
The mediation process involves:
identifying the issues which need to be resolved
both parties listening to each other's point of view without interruption
sharing relevant information
exploring ideas and options
testing possible solutions
putting decisions and agreements/parenting plan in writing.
A parenting plan is an agreement signed by the parties with the intention to carry out the terms relating to their children matters in good faith. Whilst a parenting plan is not legally enforceable, it may be used by the Court as an evidence upon filing of an application at a particular point in time.
Our fee for mediation depends on the complexity of your disputes but is fixed within a range as follows:
3-Hour Mediation $800 (inclusive of GST) per party;
6-Hour Mediation $1,500 (inclusive of GST) per party
Our fixed fee is all inclusive without any hidden costs. This fee includes hiring 2 conference rooms, preparation time, intake sessions, joint mediation session, section 60I certificate, drafting a parenting plan and/or heads of agreement (if applicable) and ongoing communications with you and the other party.
Application for a Consent Order (Parenting)
If you and the other party want the terms listed in the Parenting Plan to be legally enforceable, an application for Consent Orders must be filed to the Registry of the Family Court of Australia (the ‘Court’). The Consent Orders, if approved by the Court, have the same legal effect as the orders made after a Court hearing which means that both of you would be legally bound by the terms contained therein.
The timing of the application for the Consent Orders on a case-by-case basis depends on the completeness of the information provided and the determination by the Court if the Consent Orders are for the best interest of the children. Once your application has been approved by the Court, the Consent Orders that you applied for becomes legally enforceable, meaning that both of you would be legally bound by the terms contained therein.
Winter Lawyer can help you draft a joint application for the Consent Orders to the Court as an extension of our post-mediation service or a new engagement of service. Please call us to inquire our fixed fee for an application for a consent order (parenting order).
Application for Consent Orders (Finance and/or Property)
If you are seeking an order from the Court with respect to division of assets (including superannuation) and liabilities and spouse maintenance, we can help you and your party to draft and file a joint application for consent orders (finance and/or property) to the Court as an extension of our post-mediation service or a new engagement of service.
Please call us to inquire our fixed fee for an application for a consent order (financial order or property/maintenance order).
Section 60I Certificate
The Family Law Act requires that parents that are not in agreement about their child's parenting arrangements must attend mediation, and obtain a Certificate of Attendance (Section 60I Certificate) before an application can be made to the Court.
There are other situations where we can issue a Section 60I Certificate generally where:
> you are unable to invite your party to participate in a mediation after you have made every genuine attempt and effort.
> after considering all circumstances in subregulation 25(2) it would not be appropriate to conduct the proposed family dispute resolution.
> one or both parties did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issues in dispute in the family dispute resolution.
> the family dispute resolution has begun but it would not be appropriate to continue the family dispute resolution.
If your ex-partner is out of contact, we can issue a section 60I certificate for you to file it to the court.
Our fixed fee for an issuance of a section 60I certificate (inclusive of 1-hour intake session) is $495 (inclusive of GST).
What are financial agreements?
The Family Law Act 1975 provides for parties to a marriage or de facto relationship to enter into a binding legal agreement about the financial arrangements should their marriage or de facto relationship break down. Sometimes people know these agreements as 'prenuptial agreements' but the legal term is 'financial agreements'.
What can be included in a financial agreement?
You can make a financial agreement before, during or after a marriage or de facto relationship. These agreements can cover:
financial settlement (including superannuation entitlements) after the breakdown of a marriage or a de facto relationship
financial support (maintenance) of one spouse by the other after the breakdown of a marriage or a de facto relationship,
any incidental issues.
What are the advantages of entering into a financial agreement?
Reaching an agreement with the other party offers many advantages, such as:
you make your own decisions
you greatly reduce the financial and emotional costs of legal proceedings
your continuing relationship as parents, if you have children, is likely to work better
you are able to move forward and make a new life for yourself, and
you may improve communication with your former partner and be better able to resolve disputes in the future.
Why settle without going to court?
It saves you time and money if you can reach agreement without going to court. You also know exactly what each of you will get, whereas, by going to court, there is uncertainty waiting for a judicial officer to decide for you. Additionally, long court proceedings can increase stress and add to the pressure that you and your family are under.
How do I formalise our agreement?
You can agree on how your property should be divided without any court action. You do this through either:
a financial agreement, or
an agreement formalised by applying for consent orders in which you ask a court to make orders in the terms of your agreement.
Application for Divorce
Winter Lawyer can help you and your party to apply for a sole application for divorce or a joint application for divorce to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
For a sole application, you are known as the applicant and the other party is known as the respondent. Only you as the applicant are required to sign the application. The respondent does not need to sign the application however you do need to serve the application on the respondent. Court attendance is not required if there are no children of the marriage. Court attendance is required if there are children under the age of 18 years.
For a joint application, both parties are known as joint applicants and you do not need to serve documents on the other party if you make a joint application. Court attendance is not required if you file a joint application.
Please call us to inquire our fixed fee for an application for divorce (sole application or joint application).