What is the Process for Achieving a Property Settlement Through Mediation?
If you are looking to resolve a family law property dispute outside of court, there are a few options available. Falling under the umbrella of Alternative Dispute Resolution, these methods include mediation, arbitration and conciliation conference. Mediation is the most commonly chosen method for property settlement disputes. We share the process for achieving property settlement through mediation as well as the benefits.
What is Mediation?
Mediation can be a very effective way of resolving family disputes.
A Mediator is a neutral third party who facilitates negotiation between you and the other party. A good mediator will advocate for the best interests of each party and facilitate the formation of an agreement that speaks more to those interests than strict legal entitlement. Mediators should not make decisions for you or pass judgment on aspects of your matter; the mediation process gives you ultimate decision-making power and self-determination. In most cases, each party shares equal responsibility for the cost of mediation, helping to maintain neutrality.
Mediation can be a cost-effective and efficient out-of-court solution that allows each party to have more control over the situation. It tends to preserve relationships and provides positive outcomes all parties are satisfied with.
How Does Property Settlement Through Mediation Work?
Mediation provides ex-spouses an opportunity to problem solve and communicate effectively to work out the division of their assets, which may include things like houses, shares, superannuation, vehicles, jewellery and other assets as well as liabilities.
The process involves engaging a neutral third party in the form of a professional mediator, who aids in facilitating communication, identifying each party’s needs and interests (often through speaking with each party and a legal representative prior to the session), and utilizing negotiation, social science, and creative problem solving techniques to reach an agreement both parties are happy with. Mediators will often outline or highlight common ground, but the focus is always to encourage future focused, interest based solutions.
If parties are unable to come to an agreement, there is no decision enforced, unlike in Arbitration which resembles more of an informal court process.
What is the Mediation Process?
There are two ways in whicfh mediation can be conducted. The first process is a joint session, where the parties (and each of their council if applicable) and the mediator meet and sit together in-person in a single room.
The second way in which mediation is conducted is the “shuttle process”, whereby the parties will stay in separate rooms with the mediator “shuttling” between them relaying agenda items and party responses. The second process is often employed when there is potential risk in the two parties meeting, or concerns about family violence.
The process is shaped around the individual needs of each party, often meaning that parties will spend be in separate rooms and all together in once conference at different points throughout the mediation. Partly, it is this kind of flexibility that gives mediations its strength and efficacy.
Is a property settlement reached through mediation legally binding?
In many instances, all or most issues are resolved through mediation.
Once an agreed property settlement is reached, drawn up and signed, it becomes legally binding between both parties.
How to Prepare For A Property Settlement at Mediation
It is always advisable to seek legal advice prior to attending a mediation.
An experienced family lawyer will help you draft a position paper, which will be a summary of the points of contention and priority assets. You will need evidence to support your argument such as mortgage documents, credit card statements and registrations.
Need Help With Your Property Settlement at Mediation?
At Pullos Lawyers, we are experts in resolving family disputes through both the court processes and alternative dispute resolution. Our founder, Cassandra Pullos, is an industry leader in the field of mediation on the Gold Coast and nationally. Cassandra has built a reputation as a mediator, dispute resolution educator, and Family Law specialist, delivering exceptional results for clients through a future-focused, problem solving approach built on over 30 years of specialty family law experience. Cassandra can assist as a mediator or appear as your legal expert in any mediation for property or family law matters. Our experienced family lawyers can also assist in a number of family law matters including divorce law, spousal maintenance and wills and estate planning. We invite you to get in touch via our enquiry form, or by calling our Brisbane office on (07) 3144 1641 or our Gold Coast office on (07) 5526 3646.