1. What are the benefits of mediation?

Mediation enables couples to reach an agreement about family law matters without going through the Court process or Arbitration.

The benefits of mediation include:

  • It is significantly cheaper and quicker than going to Court;
  • It gives couples control over the outcome rather than having a decision imposed upon them by a Judge;
  • It is much less stressful than going to Court;
  • It enables couples to avoid the lengthy process of going to trial and waiting for a judgment (which can take years);
  • It is much less conflictual and much more likely to lead to the couple having an amicable relationship in the future;
  • It enables couples to resolve their dispute and move on with their lives much sooner.
  1. When can mediation take place?

Mediation can take place at any time the couple are ready to mediate.  It can take place during the early stages of negotiations or it can take place after Court proceedings have commenced, even right up until shortly before a Court hearing.

  1. What does mediation cost?

A full day mediation with Bruce costs $2,640 (including GST).  Half day mediations cost $1,540 (including GST). There may also be a room hire fee.

  1. Do I have to be in the same room as my ex-partner?

You can choose to be in a separate room from your ex-partner for whole or part of the mediation.

  1. Are agreements reached at mediation binding?

When an agreement is reached the couple will generally sign a document called a Heads of agreement.  This agreement does not become binding until it is formalised by a Consent Order or a Binding Financial Agreement which your lawyer can prepare for you.

  1. How long does mediation take?

In most cases the mediation will take all day and in some cases will even extend past 5pm.  However some simpler matters may be finalised in a half day.

  1. How should I prepare for mediation?
  • Exchange relevant documents and obtain valuations of significant assets where there is no agreement.
  • Provide the mediator with relevant documents and summaries well before the mediation date.
  • If you wish to retain a property as part of the settlement find out if you can refinance the mortgage and how much you can borrow to pay to your former partner.
  • Set aside the whole day for the mediation.
  • Approach the process in a conciliatory manner and try not to be adversarial or confrontational.
  • Be open-minded and think about the compromises you may be willing to make.
  • Consider what the most important issues are to you.
  • Think about and talk with your lawyer about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
  1. Can a mediation take place outside Brisbane?

Bruce is willing to travel throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales but these mediations need to be arranged well in advance and there may be additional fees involved.

  1. What happens if there is no agreement at mediation?

Mediation is one step, although an important step, in the negotiation process.  Most disputes are resolved at mediation. If there is no agreement then most times the couple will continue their negotiations after mediation and reach an agreement without having to go to a hearing in Court.

  1. What is the role of the mediator?

The mediator’s role is to assist the couple to negotiate and try to reach an agreement.  The mediator will not provide the legal advice and they will not impose decisions on the couple.  The mediator guides and encourages the couple in their negotiations and ensures each party understands the other’s position.

  1. What happens in the lead-up to mediation?

It is desirable for the couple to forward copies of relevant Court documents to the mediator, prepare a table of assets, superannuation and liabilities, a chronology of important events and a Position statement. This helps the mediator to understand the issues and know the important facts.

  1. Do I need a lawyer for the mediation?

The mediator cannot provide legal advice.  A lawyer can assist in the preparation for the mediation, assist with the negotiations at mediation and assist to draft an agreement.  If you choose not to have a lawyer at the mediation it is highly desirable to obtain legal advice prior to mediation.