Too often parties rush into litigation without considering Alternative Dispute Resolution – including formal and informal settlement conferences, conciliation, arbitration or mediation. Even if proceedings have been commenced its never to late to explore Alternative Dispute Resolution, such as mediation. In essence don’t litigate if you can mediate!
The Norton Law Group are experienced in all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which can save significant time and money. ADR consists of a variety of ways to resolve all types of dispute, including Family Law , Will disputes and commercial disputes; without the need for a court hearing.
There are several different avenues designed to facilitate a just and equitable division of assets and to encourage resolution of parenting disputes to allow your family to effectively co-parent long-term.
DIRECT SOLICITOR TO SOLICITOR NEGOTIATIONS OR ROUND TABLE CONFERENCES
Negotiation is probably the most common form of dispute resolution. Most commonly, negotiations are done by way of letters between legal representatives to kick start the process. Negotiation, where possible, should always be the first step in resolving your dispute.
Negotiations can also be had through a face to face ‘round table’ conference where solicitors and parties meet to resolve matters. This can take place over one day, or via several shorter meetings to goal set and brainstorm solutions for interim ‘urgent’ matters and then long-term final settlement.
In the event the early negotiation process is not successful, we would recommend consideration of alternate resolution options including mediation.
Mediation is designed around interest-based negotiation. Parties mutually select an independent mediator who provides guidance and facilitates an outcome. Lawyers assist during the mediation process by providing guidance and advice. Mediation often provides a faster and more cost-effective resolution of your matter. The process also empowers you to come to your own decision based on your family’s needs. The mediator will assist in identifying issues in dispute and will assist in resolving those issues by focussing on the needs, goals and options available to resolve each issue. Parties can participate in mediation to resolve disputes at anytime in the process, either prior to court proceedings or while proceedings are on foot. Mediation often also assists parties to resolve urgent interim issues such as spousal maintenance, child support and interim property settlement. Mediations will often require a full day, but for narrower issues, half a day is often suitable.
If agreement is reached, the option is provided to formalise that agreement by way of legally binding documents – often referred to as the settlement documents.
Arbitration is a process in which parties present arguments and evidence to an arbitrator who makes a determination to resolve the dispute. It can be undertaken by private agreement or by referral from the Court. Once registered, an arbitral decision takes effect as if it were a decree of the Court.
There are many benefits to alternate dispute resolution, including:
- Time and cost saving: a typical ADR process can be scheduled in two weeks or less, with the average case resolved in under a day.
- Flexibility of processes and outcomes: it allows the parties to develop innovative solutions that are best suited to their needs and the needs of the family.
- Control: parties are able to choose the most appropriate neutral person and process for their case. They can also chose the time, place, and the date most convenient to them.
- Preservation of relationships: because ADR can resolve problems more quickly, it can help to preserve relationships between the parties.
- Confidentiality: discussions and negotiations are held in private, and remain strictly confidential. Anything said remains confidential and cannot be used in any subsequent proceedings, should resolution not be reached.
The Norton Law Group offers mediation services that are unparalleled in its effectiveness by reason of our extensive experience and superior negotiation skills.
Contact Us to make an appointment to discuss your situation and let our top family lawyers in Sydney navigate your separation pathway.