Family Law Services

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Family Law Mediation

James Noble Family Law Brisbane specialise in Mediation and Family Dispute Resolution.

A service to help separating families resolve their family law disputes. The Family Dispute Resolution Service offered by James Noble Family Law includes family law education, legal information, family counselling, dispute resolution, family conciliation and group work to help couples who are separating to resolve their family law disputes. These disputes may include conflicts over child care, child support, financial arrangements and property settlement.

Traditional Family Law Mediation or Mediation Without Lawyers.  We have options to help you reach a resolution without high legal costs

Mediation is a style of dispute resolution where an independent person helps you and your ex-partner resolve any disagreements. This can be for division of property, child support, parenting issues or spousal maintenance. Mediators do not give legal advice. They assist the parties to negotiate an agreement that is fair. James Noble Family Law offers a mediation service.

Family Dispute Resolution endeavors to help separating couples reach agreements that are in the best interest of their children. It also encourages separating couples to parent cooperatively. Parenting Plans or agreements are typically used to assist in this process.

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To make an appointment please call us on (07) 3255 3200 or (freecall) 1800 217 217

Normally the time spent by the grandparents with their grandchildren would be a time that is not inconvenient to the children and to the children’s parents. The Courts would also look at the disruption to any of the activities of the children including sporting, educational and extra curricular activities to determine if the time spent with the grandparents is feasible.

The wishes of the children especially the wishes of teenage children will be taken into account.

The grandparents have a right to apply for the parenting of the grandchildren where the parents of such children are unsuitable for medical or other reasons to care for them. The Courts can make orders for the grandparents to take on the parenting role of the children in such circumstances.

Other significant family members do not have the same rights as grandparents in seeking time with their nieces, nephews and other children of the family. Again if the significant family members have had a large involvement in the upbringing of the children and if the parents, grandparents or other family members are not suitable to parent the children where the children’s own parents are incapable of doing so then those family members may apply to the Court for the parenting of the children. Again the welfare of the children is paramount.

Collaborative Practice – the new alternative to litigation

Collaborative practice is a popular dispute resolution method developed in the United States in the early 1990s. It has gained rapid popularity in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Now Collaborative practice is available to help people in Australia.

Benefits of Collaborative Practice 

  • You have the benefit of being advised and supported by your lawyer at all times.
  • The outcomes are generally faster than traditional negotiation methods and most certainly quicker than court outcomes.
  • The outcomes are certain and long lasting because they are owned by you as you assisted in creating the outcomes.
  • The process promotes co-operation in the future particularly where long-term investments are involved.
  • Resolutions are reached in a dignified and respectful way.
  • The outcomes are often tailor made and more creative providing fairer settlements. 

Collaborative practice may be suitable for you and your partner if both of you: 

  • Wish to spare your children from the emotional damage litigation can cause.
  • Accept personal responsibility in moving forward and reaching agreement.
  • Believe it is important to create healthy and more holistic solutions for your futures.
  • Understand and embrace the necessity to make full and frank disclosure about financial issues.

Collaborative practice may not be suitable for you and your partner if either of you:

  • Have a primary aim to seek revenge against your former spouse or partner.
  • Are looking for a “soft option”.
  • Believe the procedure will pressure your spouse or partner to agree to your wishes.
  • Want to avoid giving certain financial information to your spouse or partner.
  • Where your relationship has experienced domestic violence or any form of abuse. If this is the case, the lawyers will first have to determine whether Collaborative practice is appropriate. It may be that other professionals are required to be involved to assist and support you through the process and to ensure that your interests are promoted and protected.

Make your own decisions 

The Collaborative approach will enable you and your partner to resolve your issues respectfully, so that you can arrive at dignified solutions to your dispute with your partner and maintain a sound relationship with each other in the future, especially if long term financial interests are involved. In the Collaborative practice process, emphasis is placed on reaching agreement, rather than having to ‘battle it out in Court’. 

Commitment to non-confrontational dispute resolution 

In the Collaborative practice you will be asked to sign a Participation Agreement so that you demonstrate your commitment to resolving your differences with your partner in a respectful manner, with full and frank disclosure of information and with a minimum of conflict. Open communication will build an environment of trust. This trust will help you, your partner and both of your lawyers to work together in finding workable solutions to your dispute.

In Collaborative practice, you and your partner and your lawyers will work together to share information and to arrive at solutions through a series of meetings. Your lawyer will never negotiate deals without your active participation. A major benefit of Collaborative practice is that you and your partner can each contribute to the compromised agreements that you make together, instead of having to settle with a decision imposed upon you by the Court.

Total ‘out-of-Court’ settlement with Collaborative practice 

At the commencement of the collaborative process all parties and their lawyers will enter into a Participation Agreement. Pursuant to the terms of the Participation Agreement the parties agree that they will not litigate their matter in the Family Court. This means that if either you or your partner decides to commence proceedings in Court and continue with such proceedings during the collaborative process, your collaborative lawyer will not be able to represent you in the collaborative process they will only be able to refer you to another trusted practitioner to handle your Court case.

How does it all work?

Collaborative practice is different from going to Court. You will be in a room with your lawyer as well as your partner and their lawyer. Both lawyers will be properly trained in the collaborative approach. We all work together towards the common goal of resolving the dispute between you and your partner, with emphasis on retaining your dignity and best interests.

You will have your collaborative lawyer advising and assisting you throughout the negotiations. The playing field will be more even between you and your partner, because you and your partner will have your respective lawyers to support you, as well as other professionals if necessary and with your consent.

The integrated approach of Collaborative practice

Collaborative lawyers often work with other professionals, such as accountants, financial planners, valuers, counsellors and mental health professionals, who are trained in the collaborative approach. These people will work together with your collaborative lawyers with your consent with a focus on developing an overall dispute resolution package that will provide both you and your partner with security and direction.

Note: In Collaborative practice, your lawyer and your partner’s lawyer will draft your agreement in legal terms.

Mediation

Overview of Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process, but the Family Court may order that you and your partner participate in mediation, depending on your circumstances. Only you, your partner and the Mediator will be part of the Mediation process. Depending on the level of conflict and personal dynamics of the relationship between you and your partner two Mediators may be necessary.

If the Family Court orders mediation or you and your partner agree, you may be allowed to have your lawyer present in the mediation. The Mediator’s role is to assist communication between you and your partner so that you can have open discussions and negotiate a settlement.

Role of the Mediator

The Mediator’s aim is to facilitate open communication between you and your partner so that you can:

  • identify issues of the dispute;
  • generate options to address these issues; and
  • agree upon ways to resolve the issues (i.e. ‘settlement’).

The Mediator’s role is essentially a neutral one.   The Mediator:

  • will not take sides;
  • will work with both you and your partner to help you negotiate your own decisions together; and
  • will not represent either of you in Court either before or after the Mediation.

Characteristics of Mediation

  • All decisions in mediation will be made by you and your partner, not the Court or anyone else.
  • Mediation will help you to identify important issues that relate to your assets and finances and/or care arrangements for your children.
  • Mediation is readily accessible, making it fast and efficient.
  • Mediation is a popular form of alternative dispute resolution. 

What is the difference between Collaborative Practice and Mediation?

Mediation involves an independent neutral professional who facilitates discussions between the parties and helps them to reach an agreement. The Mediator does not provide legal advice to either party during the discussions.

In Collaborative practice, the lawyers provide advice to their clients and help them assess realistic options. The lawyers then support the clients through the negotiation process to reach an agreement.

Costs associated with the Collaborative Practice and Mediation

  • Initial consultation with your lawyer.
  • Assistance of the lawyer to complete a short history statement, if necessary.
  • Assistance of the lawyer to provide full disclosure of documents, if necessary.
  • Attendance by the lawyer in the Mediation session and in the Collaborative meetings.
  • Attendance by the lawyer in the Mediation, or throughout the entire collaborative process.
  • Preparation of consent documents by the lawyers.
  • Involvement of the lawyer throughout the collaborative process.

Other information relating to costs of Collaborative practice and Mediation

  • Discussions and agreement on the payment of the fee.
  • The fee may be a shared arrangement.
  • The costs of the Mediator will be agreed prior to the commencement of the process.
  • Because of the short duration for the preparation for attending on and completion of the Mediation and Collaborative practice processes, the costs are limited.

 

Cost of Collaborative practice Mediation compared to Litigation

Because Mediation and the Collaborative process resolve matters speedily and amicably, the financial and emotional damage normally caused by Litigation will be avoided by you, your family and your friends.

Mediation and Collaboration will also serve to minimise conflict between you and your partner, so that you can make amicable decisions regarding your finances and other personal interests. It will form a basis for your ongoing relationship with each other.

How is Collaborative practice different from traditional Court proceedings?

When one party commences Court proceedings they file an Application with the Court setting out the orders they want the Court to make. Both parties then go through a sequence of Court proceedings and conferences and hearings that can take many months or possibly years before they have a final trial where a Judge makes a decision as to what orders will be made.

Through Collaborative practice, separating couples and their lawyers work together, sometimes with other professionals such as relationship therapists, valuers, accountants and financial planners, to find out what each party wants and how that can be achieved. The Court is not involved in this process and no documents are filed with the Court whilst the negotiations are ongoing. If an agreement is reached, the parties can elect for it to be drafted as a consent order to be lodged at the Court or to be incorporated in a binding financial agreement.

Don’t be frightened to make enquiries and conduct your own research. It is better to be empowered with legal and other knowledge than to worry about problems that may not exist.
Invitation: You are welcome to arrange an obligation free 20 minute consultation with one of our qualified lawyers, to discuss your circumstances.

Efficiency of Collaborative practice and Mediation

Dispute resolution via Mediation or Collaborative practice can be arranged in a timely manner and satisfactory outcomes can be reached relatively quickly. With either method, negotiations usually take place either over a number of sessions, or during one day, depending on the complexity of the dispute. By using either Mediation or Collaborative practice settlements can usually be reached after 6 to 8 hours of negotiation. Sometimes, Collaborative practice may take longer depending on the complexity of the dispute and whether other support professionals need to be consulted.

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