Educate Yourself About Law

Could Dispute Resolution Be the Only Way Forward for You?

by Erika Reed

When a personal relationship between two people starts to go south, things can quickly escalate. The two people in question may have been living together for some time and have children as part of the union, but no matter what they do, they may not be able to agree on significant matters any more. It is not unusual for the process of discussion to fail altogether, and, in this case, the only way forward may be an inevitable divorce or separation. These two individuals will still need to care for their children and guarantee their future, but how can they do this in such a toxic atmosphere?

Understand the Options

The Australian family court is well used to this type of situation, unfortunately. They will certainly be sympathetic and may help the individuals to separate and settle their affairs, but they will want to put the needs of the children first under all circumstances. Ultimately, the courts may insist that parenting orders are established so that both of the adults are forced to take responsibility for the young ones. However, they will also want to ensure that both parties have talked this through as thoroughly as possible and will insist that they do this first.

Engage in Dispute Resolution

Certainly, the court may understand how difficult it is for these two individuals to sit down calmly and to discuss all the issues without assistance and this is why a process known as family dispute resolution is in place. This type of service is meant to bring the individuals together in a neutral setting and in front of a trained adviser, who can help the parties to readdress their problems.

Prepare for a Compulsory Hearing

A court will not issue a parenting order of any kind unless both individuals have gone through the family dispute resolution process. They will need to make a genuine effort to resolve their differences, to understand their obligations and to agree on a path forward.

Be Calm and Collected

During the hearing, the parties will sit down with the practitioner and will be encouraged to share information, ideas and options. They must allow each other to put their point of view across without argument or interruption and will then be asked to look at a compromise. Ideally, they will agree, and everything will be documented in writing to put forward to the court.

Make an Attempt

Even so, it may not be possible for them to come to an agreement in this type of environment. If this is the case, they will simply have to prove that they tried. Once the court has the report in front of them, they will make the appropriate decision and may issue parenting orders.

Find the Way Forward

If you're unsure how to proceed or would like to discuss some different legal alternatives, you will need to talk with an experienced family lawyer.