The article is titled “Family Lawyers urged to steer clients towards private mediation.” by Tim Couch Lawyer, family law team at Stacks Law Firm, and was published in the Resolution Institute Magazine on 2 December 2016.
The points that Tim Couch makes in his article are acknowledged by private mediators who too often only see clients after lengthy, costly and being psychologically affected by protracted cases through the adversarial method of resolving disputes.
Tim Couch commences his article with the words “ I would even go so far as to say that, except for the one or two cases I may get each year where the client walks into my office and says: “We’ve separated, we’ve agreed on the settlement and the kids, can you do the paperwork,” private mediation should be the first port of call when a relationship has ended and there is a need for a property settlement and formal parenting arrangements.”
He states that “because the court system is overloaded with cases and that many litigants experience delays of up to 18 months or longer before their case can come to a hearing, private mediation provides a potential shortcut through the uncertainty”.
It is well documented that children fare very badly throughout an escalating conflict whilst the adversarial approach is undergoing the long and traumatic process of the legal system.
Tim Couch also states, “The second advantage of using private mediation is that it gives clients more control over the process.”
In addition Tim Crouch states that “The third advantage is the cost effectiveness. Litigating a family law dispute is rarely a cheap exercise”
It is to be noted that private FDRP mediators’ charges are only a very small fraction of the cost of a legal practitioner. In addition the mediation process is expedient and suitable for separating parents.
Our experience and training has clearly shown that emotions, perceptions, assumptions amongst other things are obstacles to achieving a sustainable agreement.
Again Tim Couch states in his article “sometimes the desire to keep fighting is not even over the concerns of unfair apportionment of money or property or time with the children, it can be based on emotional impulse.”
It is therefore important to have skilled mediators, registered with the Federal Attorney General, trained with appropriate intervention techniques to deal with the issues that courts or untrained professionals who may not be qualified or experienced or proficient to handle and manage.
Tim Crouch further states that “some practitioners are notorious for letting a family law matter unnecessarily drag on for months and sometimes years before finally giving strong advice on the steps of the court on the final day of hearing to settle.” “…It is hard to think of a reason for such an approach other than the desire to drive up the legal bill.”
This strong message from Tim Couch to separating parents, who cannot agree on decisions, is to see a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP)/Mediator as your first point of call, before seeking legal representation. The Mediator will make an assessment of your case and refer you to other services if and when necessary.
It needs to be recognised that the above statements provided in Bold above have been made by Tim Couch Family Lawyer, with the Family law Team at Stacks Law Firm in his article “Family Lawyers Urged to Steer Clients Towards Private Mediation.” (Article published in the Resolution Institute Magazine on 2 December 2016)
To review Tim Crouch’s complete article please click here.
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