The Family Court resolves parenting and property disputes between parties by applying inflexible rules. This inevitably produces a perception of winning and losing.

The Family Court process involves the parties confronting each other in Court either with a family lawyer – or without. A judge considering the evidence and then, based on pre-determined rules, imposing a binding decision on them. The parties have no control over the process by which the dispute will be heard or the decision that will be reached.

The Family Court process is inflexible, as it fails to take into account factors and considerations which are important to the parties, but which fall outside of its pre-determined rules.

The main disadvantages to the Family Court process

  • Encourages conflict between parties and generates anger;
  • Makes parties suspicious of the motives of other parties;
  • Long delays in decision making;
  • Parties have a tendency to become entrenched or fixed in their position;
  • It is expensive, both in terms of legal fees and the amount of time that must be invested;
  • It produces a perception of winners and losers;
  • It leads to further division;
  • Control is taken away from the parties which increases the likelihood of a perception of bias and non-compliance with orders;
  • Imposes a ‘solution’ rather than an outcome that is perceived as being fair;
  • Makes no provision for review or monitoring of the orders that are made.

The advantages of mediation

One of the main objectives of mediation is to facilitate discussion and consensual agreement between the parties to a dispute. Mediation helps the parties to work together, to seek a solution which they can all work with and support, allowing time for trust to build up between them.

Mediation is less formal and more private than the Family Court process. It permits the disputing parties to have more active participation in and control over the process and the outcome.

The advantages of mediation include:

  • A non-adversarial atmosphere where the parties can communicate freely and safely, leading to increased understanding of the other parties position;
  • The final outcome can be achieved quicker and with less cost;
  • Issues and considerations which would not be of relevance to the Family Court can be discussed;
  • All interested parties can be involved, which may help to bring about a much deeper understanding of the issues, than a Family Court judge would be required to consider;
  • Different solutions and outcomes can be explored to see what might fit best in terms of an outcome;
  • Decisions can be tailored to the needs of the parties, who are free to reach an agreed outcome in any way they see fit;
  • The likelihood of successful implementation of the agreed outcome is increased as the parties to it have a better understanding of and have invested in the outcome;
  • As the parties have invested their time in the outcome, any subsequent problems that arise are more likely to be resolved quickly, rather than becoming the subject of a further Family Court application.

At Davies & Co Lawyers, we embrace mediation as method of resolving parenting and property disputes. We are highly experienced Mediators and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners.