Mediation is a formal process. It involves two parties, who have a disagreement, plus an expert mediator.
The mediator’s role is to facilitate communication between the parties. The mediator is not a judge and cannot make decisions for either party. The mediator cannot give legal or financial advice. Each party is responsible for seeking whatever advice they need before the mediation and can seek further advice during the mediation, if needed.
The fee for the mediation is paid before the mediation, with each party paying 50%. The fee is based on the expected length of the mediation. If the mediation runs longer than expected, an extra fee may be payable and this will again be split equally between the parties.
If both parties agree, the parties can be accompanied by legal, accounting and business advisers or other support people
Before the mediation, the mediator will usually talk with each party (or their representative) to ensure they understand the process and to have them sign a Mediation Agreement. The mediator will also sign this agreement, which sets out each party’s obligations and the obligations of the mediator.
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a specialised mediation process under Australia’s Family Law Act, designed to handle the negotiations around parenting plans and property settlements for separating or separated couples.