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What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?

Disputes, Family Law

Alternate Dispute Resolution

Mediation and Arbitration are both forms of Alternate Dispute Resolution.

Today, as a result of ever increasing delays and the cost of Court proceedings, more and more couples are choosing the alternate dispute resolution processes to resolve their disputes.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a structured negotiation process which is facilitated by an independent mediator. It involves parties coming together to discuss issues in dispute with the mediator to attempt to reach an agreement.

The outcome of a mediation is decided by agreement of the parties. The mediator has no power to impose any settlement at the mediation.

Is the outcome of a Mediation legally binding?

Settlements reached at mediation are only enforceable once they are made into consent orders (or a similar legal document) and signed by all parties.

What is an example of mediation in Family Law?

An example of Mediation in Family Law is family dispute resolution. This is a compulsory mediation which is required prior to commencing any court proceeding.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is an alternative to formal court proceedings where an independent neutral arbitrator makes decisions about disputes between parties as opposed to a Judge or Registrar in the Court system.

Parties who choose to use Arbitration to determine their case have the option of choosing the arbitrator for their matter.

Arbitration is a less complicated procedure to formal court proceedings.

Can I use Arbitration in all areas of Family Law?

In Australian, arbitration can only be adopted in financial matters such as Financial Agreements, spousal maintenance and property settlements. Children’s matters must be decided by consent or through formal court proceedings.

Is the outcome of Arbitration legally binding?

If the Arbitration relates to financial matters in Family law, the outcome of the Arbitration is legally binding unless the Arbitration itself is “null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed”

Do you have a family law matter and are you scratching your head trying to decide which avenue is best for you? Get in touch with one of our dedicated Family Law solicitors for assistance, today.