What is Mediation? An interview with Lidy by Rodney Owen of Bloke Support
Table of Services
Mediation is for people coming together to discuss issues in dispute. The mediator’s task is to help people to understand each other’s point of view and to work together to reach an acceptable agreement.
The mediator manages how the mediation session is run. The people in dispute decide what is discussed and what is agreed upon.
When contacting NBM we will firstly speak with each of you independently regarding your concerns and will ask you about what has been tried and what happened.
We do not provide legal advice, though we can assist you by providing information on organisations that do. We only provide advice about how to resolve disputes or prevent them from occurring. Top
Facilitation of disputes is where the full process of mediation might not be necessary or appropriate. It might be that you only want to use the services to determine what might be the issues for you for future consideration with or without both parties present. Top
Dispute Counselling is a less formal way of working with couples in crisis. Sometimes all a couple needs is an environment to speak about their concerns or to have someone else manage an issue for them that they may not be able to manage for themselves. The focus of these kinds of sessions may be to help a couple solve a simple issue eg managing a testy teenager or to help them begin the process of separation long before any consideration of more critical issues around separating financing or management of children come up.
The focus of Dispute Counselling may include:
- Looking at the current position
- Considering desired outcomes
- Considering new options
- negotiation strategies and communication techniques
This service is for people who need support to help them through a mediation with another provider or for those who need support to help them through a legal process regarding their separation or divorce.
While Lidy can’t give legal advice she can be an advocate for you in your meetings with your solicitor. This could be to help you prepare for your session, to determine what questions you need to ask or advice you need to get and what that advice means for you and your future.
Lidy is available to be in attendance at her own rooms or in another venue as required. Top
Financial Issues Covered in Mediation
Financial matters can be settled by agreement through Mediation, or they may be made in the Family or Supreme Courts. Following is an overview of some of the issues that might present themselves regarding financial matters and the position of the Court on those issues. While our recommendation is that your Agreement be filed in the Court, mediation is an empowering way for each party to ensure their needs/wants are being considered fully in the process. Top
The Courts have the power to make Orders for property settlements. All of the assets of the parties, whether the assets are in joint names or not, are taken into account. Each party has an obligation to fully disclose his or her financial position to the Court and the other party. The Court is obliged to make Orders which are “just and equitable” having regard to:
- the financial contributions of each of the parties;
- the non-financial contributions of each of the parties, particularly in the role of homemaker and parent;
- to the future financial position of the parties, including the need to provide for children and the capacity of the parties to provide for those needs.
Applications for Property Settlement can be commenced at any time up until 12 months after a divorce becomes finalised. Proceedings can take between 8–18 months to finalise if a Court hearing is required. The Court process includes attendance at a compulsory mediation style conference where an attempt is made to settle the claims without further litigation.
If you use mediation, it is also expected that each party disclose fully their assets and be flexible in determining how best to allocate there assets before coming to an Agreement. Mediation can be used at any time throughout the separation process. The time frame to complete mediation with Northern Beaches Mediation, whether for property or children’s issues, is generally 1 – 2 months from the date of commencement. Top
A person is liable to maintain a spouse who is unable to support him/herself adequately, provided they have the capacity to provide that support. This can often be because one of the parties is caring for young children or because he/she has been out of the workforce for some time and requires retraining before being able to obtain employment. This arrangement can be mediated or completed through the Court. An Application for Spouse Maintenance can be filed up until 12 months after a divorce becomes final or at a later time if the Court allows. This might also apply to a spouse from a defacto relationship. Top
Child Support and Maintenance
For parents, there is a legal scheme for child support administered by the Child Support Agency. The amount of support payable is determined according to a formula, based on the number of children and the incomes of the parents. The Child Support Agency will assess the amount payable upon application by the person entitled to receive or provide the support.
If both parties are in agreement, Child Support can also be determined through Mediation. Top
You may or may not have previously made a Will, but you should certainly consider whether a Will needs to be made or to be amended to express accurately what you wish to happen with your assets on your death. Remember that a Will is revoked by a marriage, but not by a separation and it may be important to make changes particularly if you have children. Top
If at any time you are actually assaulted or harassed by your spouse, or you fear that this is likely to happen, then action can be swiftly taken under the provisions of the State Violence Laws to obtain Apprehended Violence Orders (an AVO) for your protection. You can begin this process by contacting the police or a magistrate at the local courts. Top
If the parties cannot agree through mediation, either party is free to apply to the Court for a decision on their behalf. After considering all relevant factors, the Judge will then make a decision. Frequently, the Judge will ask for a Family Report to be prepared by a Family Court Counsellor or by a Psychiatrist or Psychologist. In other cases, the Court can require that the child/ren be separately represented by their own Legal Adviser.
On occasions, there may be a need to obtain urgent Orders to prevent the child from being taken away, to have the child returned, or to locate the child. This is particularly important if there is a fear that the child may be removed from Australia. Top
An information sheet for clients is available for download here.