FAQ About Financial Matters Family Dispute Resolution
1What happens if Mediation is deemed inappropriate after a Pre Mediation Conference?
The Pre Mediation Conference involves a screening for the appropriateness of proceeding to mediation, a discussion about your matter, making safety assessments and providing you with lots of information about family law mediations. In some cases, proceeding to mediation is not deemed appropriate after your Pre Mediation Conference and the cost of the Pre Mediation Conference includes the drafting of a letter from Blue City Mediations stating that you have attempted to participate in Family Dispute Resolution, should you need it to proceed to the Family Court of Western Australia. In some cases it is not until after both parties have completed their Pre Mediation Conference that a matter is deemed inappropriate under the criteria of the Family Law legislation, and a letter from Blue City Mediations can be drafted, enabling both parties to proceed to the Family Court of Western Australia.
2What happens after the Pre Mediation Conference?
After seeing you and the other party separately in individual Pre Mediation Conferences and it is appropriate to have a joint mediation session where you both wish to participate, we can book a time for the mediation.
3What happens in the Joint Family Dispute Resolution Session?
The joint session of Financial Matters Family Dispute Resolution brings parties affected by separation together to consider the assets and debts of the relationship and work out a fair agreement as to splitting the net asset pool. The net asset pool is what you have left when you add up the value of all the assets and subtract the value of all the debts. Sometimes the parties need to communicate with each other as to why something should be included in or excluded from the net asset pool. The question of fairness hangs over the whole process, from start to finish. The goal is to arrive at agreements that both parties can live with and think are fair. This allows the parties to untangle their financial relationship, bring an end to that financial relationship and move on. With the assistance of the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner the parties often want to discuss what they owned or owed when they first started living together and all the different contributions they have made over the life of their relationship and since separation. Parties have the opportunity to safety and respectfully discuss what they think their future financial needs are and what financial resources they have access to. The goal of the Mediation is to reach agreements as to how the property is to be divided that are consistent with principles set down in family law legislation. People can often reach agreements about what is fair when they can have an open and honest discussion with the other party about their hopes and concerns.
4What can be discussed in Financial Matters Family Dispute Resolution?
Sometimes the parties need to acknowledge something that happened during their relationship with the other party, but the purpose of the Joint Session is not to focus on the unresolved relationship issues. The Practitioner will ensure that the division of the parties’ financial interests are the focus of the Joint Session and that topics discussed relate to those arrangements.
5What sort of agreements are reached in Financial Matters Family Dispute Resolution?
The process of Family Dispute Resolution allows parties the time to carefully discuss their post separation financial issues in a safe environment. Parties may reach agreements where the family home is transferred into the name of one of the parties, or that the family home will be placed on the market. They may reach agreements regarding who stays in the family home until it sells, or what happens if it does not sell at a price considered reasonable by both the parties. Parties may mediate over one parties interest in a family farm, shares that were obtained via a parent’s deceased estate, superannuation, lack of superannuation, tools, camping equipment, a Veteran’s pension, funds in bank accounts, credit card debt, personal debt owed to family members and whether one party faces imminent redundancy countering one party’s claim of a significant income earning disparity between the parties.
6What if there has been a History of Family Violence?
Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners at Blue City Mediations have extensive training and experience in dealing with situations of family violence and dealing with vulnerable families. They must have a National Police Clearance Certificate and a current Working with Children Card valid for the States they are practising within. A condition of ongoing accreditation as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner is that they fulfil professional development obligations ensuring they stay on top of their field. Mediation may not be appropriate for the resolution of your matter where there is a current risk of violence to yourself, the other party or your children. Please feel free to contact Blue City Mediations to hear about safety options such as shuttle mediations, staggered arrival and departure times, online mediations and mediations via telephone.
7Is Family Dispute Resolution A Voluntary Process?
All parties who participate in the process of Family Dispute Resolution must being doing so of their own free will, without feeling coercion. Even where people feel they need to satisfy the requirement to try and negotiate with the other party before making an application for the assistance of the Family Court, they should not feel forced to participate in Family Dispute Resolution. As a party’s decision to participate in Financial Matters Family Dispute Resolution is voluntary, they are able to withdraw their agreement to participate in the Mediation at any time where they believe that continuing is not in their best interests or that of their children. During the joint session, the Family Dispute Resolution process allows parties to request a short break for consultation with support people or legal advisers or alternatively to have a confidential discussion with the Mediator about their concerns in relation to proceeding with the Family Dispute Resolution session.
8What if we are a Same Sex Couple who have separated?
Blue City Mediations has facilitated Child Related Family Dispute Resolution for same sex couples and would like to welcome with warmth any member of the LGBTI community who would like to participate in a Mediation over a financial settlement.
9What if I have a disability?
Blue City Mediations recognises that a dispute with your ex- partner over how you will bring an end to the financial relationship of the parties can be difficult enough without barriers to accessing a service that might assist with the resolution of that conflict. We all struggle in different ways. The Mediation process is flexible and can be designed to support different needs.
10What if I don’t speak English?
We can help. There are many new technologies that can now assist in overcoming language barriers. Please feel free to contact Blue City Mediations and we will make every effort to assist. We will take the time to make sure you feel confident in understanding the process of Financial Matters Family Dispute Resolution before you make a decision to participate, and if you are willing to participate, we will ensure that you understand what is being said with the use of translation apps or an interpreter.
11What if I practice a different culture from the Anglo-centric Family Law System?
Blue City Mediations Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners are trained in providing a culturally appropriate service. While the family law system in Australia is born out of an anglo-centric legal system, the Mediation process allows discussions of family and financial needs as understood by different cultures. We welcome anyone from a different culture to contact us to discuss any concerns they may have in relation to the Mediation process being culturally inappropriate for them.