No.  Mediation can occur via shuttle (where you sit in separate rooms but in the same building) or via Zoom. 

Zoom mediations most often take place in separate Zoom rooms. You do not have see or have any contact with the other party or their lawyer if it is not appropriate.

A mediator is a neutral third party who assists parties to resolve their dispute.  There is a process for being a Nationally Accredited Mediator in Australia which includes study requirements and an exam.  Some mediators have qualifications and expertise in the area that they mediate.  Some do not.  Mediators usually use either a “facilitative” or “evaluative” method in a highly structured process to assist in resolving a dispute.  

A FDRP is a person who has met the requirements set out in the Family Law Act (administered by the Attorney General’s department) to perform Family Dispute Resolution.  A FDRP does not need to be a family lawyer.  FDRP’s are trained to determine whether or not family dispute resolution is appropriate, and then conduct family dispute resolution for parties.  A Section 60i certificate must be signed by a registered FDRP.

Susie and Myles are both Nationally Accredited Mediators and FDRP’s.

Mediations with Susie or Myles can take place via Zoom or in person in South East Queensland and Northern NSW.  The cost of any hired venue is met by the parties either equally or by agreement.  We travel at no charge anywhere up to 2 hours drive from the Brisbane CBD.  In addition Myles will travel to Lismore, Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour at no additional charge. Mediation can take place in your solicitors’ offices, by agreement, or we can arrange hired rooms close to you.  

We usually set aside an hour for a pre mediation phone call conference.  If you have a lawyer, they may be present for the conference. It is not a requirement that they attend, it is a matter for you to decide with your lawyer.

The conference should be booked one to two weeks before your mediation.  The pre mediation conference is a confidential conference where we get to know you and your matter in preparation for the mediation.  We will send you a pre mediation conference questionnaire when you book your pre mediation conference.  We ask you to fill this out and email it back to us.  This gives us some basic information about your dispute. 

During the pre mediation conference we will ask you a number of questions so that we fully understand the matter and your perspective.  You are encouraged to ask us any questions that you may have too and tell us what your concerns are and what you would like to discuss at mediation.

Support persons can be present for private parts of the process (not joint sessions) if both parties agree.  Because the nature of what is discussed during mediation is personal and private, it is important that the other party agrees if you want to have a support person present.  The support person also needs to agree that what is said in the mediation remains confidential and will not be discussed outside the mediation.  We are trained to ensure that you feel supported during the mediation process, whether you have a support person with you or not.  

We will ask to see a copy of any currently protection order.  It is often still possible to mediate where there is a protection order in place.  It depends on the terms of the protection order.  We are trained to identify when mediation will or will not be appropriate.  Often, where there are safety concerns, mediation can occur via shuttle, in separate rooms (either online or in person with us).

We ask you confidential questions about family and domestic violence before commencing mediation.  Sometimes mediation is not appropriate because of significant safety concerns and / or concerns about power imbalances.   We are trained to make that determination and will not mediate if it is inappropriate for your circumstances.  

If there are issues between you but mediation is still appropriate, we can facilitate mediation via Zoom and in different calls. If mediation in person is preferred this can also occur in separate rooms (called a shuttle mediation).

In short – yes.  There are some exceptions to this confidentiality which we will explain to you during your pre mediation conference and again at the mediation.  

Matters discussed with you in separate sessions are generally confidential from the other party, unless you specifically direct us to talk to the other party about certain matters.  Matters that are discussed in the entire mediation are confidential and must remain within the mediation.  This encourages parties to put proposals and consider solutions that might not be available if they go to Court.  

We require each party to the mediation to sign a mediation agreement that acknowledges they understand and agree to the confidential nature of mediation

It is important to be prepared for mediation.  Good preparation can ensure you are more likely to reach agreement.  

If your mediation is to discuss property settlement it is helpful to have an agreed (where possible) list of the assets, liabilities and superannuation of both parties.  We call this a “balance sheet.”  Where there is disagreement as to the value of any of the items in the list it may be that the parties need to obtain information to reconcile that dispute.  For example, if there is a dispute as to the value of your home, it may be that the parties can agree to a figure once real estate agent appraisals are obtained, or it may be that the parties agree to obtain and pay for a formal valuation from a registered valuer of real estate property.

The exchange of documents between parties to a family law dispute is a long standing obligation.   Any documents that are relevant to the issues in dispute between you should be exchanged (where it is safe to do so). Transparency is an important principle in family law property settlements.

If your mediation is to discuss parenting issues it is helpful to have with you at mediation any documents that may need to be discussed.  If you child has health issues or learning issues and you have expert reports about those matters you should bring all of those documents with you to mediation.  You should ensure that before the mediation the other party has been given a copy of these documents if they do not already have them.   

The structure of the day is designed to give parties the best possible opportunity to resolve their dispute, feel heard, and walk away with an agreement that they have had personal input into.

The mediation starts with the mediator welcoming the parties and re-iterating the steps in the process that have been discussed during the pre mediation conference.  This may occur in the same room, or also may occur in separate rooms, depending on the circumstances and the preferences of the parties. The confidential nature of the mediation is also again discussed.  The parties are welcomed and asked in turn to talk about why they are there, what concerns they have and what they want to discuss.  If you are legally represented your lawyer may speak for you. If you are not legally represented and do not feel comfortable speaking in an open forum then this can be catered for.

The mediator clarifies the issues for discussion and frames the issues into an agenda of discussion points. Options are explored for each discussion point in turn and areas of agreement are identified. Where there are points of difference, each party will be given the opportunity to explain their position.

The mediator will then break into separate meetings with each of the parties and have confidential discussions with them (if the parties are not already in separate rooms). The mediator may ask the parties to consider options that perhaps have not been previously considered and ask each party whether they are in a position to make a settlement proposal.

The balance of the day will be spent discussing issues that remain in dispute to see if either party is willing, after all options have been explored, to make any concessions. At this point the mediator may discuss any implications that flow if the dispute is unable to be resolved. The mediator will then focus on leading the parties to a mutually acceptable set of terms that represent their finalised agreement.

If you feel uncomfortable at any time during the process you can ask to speak to the mediator alone.  One of the roles of the mediator is to try and address imbalances of power and ensure everyone in the mediation is heard.

At the end of the mediation we aim for you to walk away with a heads of agreement (also called a mediation agreement).  This is a document that sets out what was agreed at the mediation, but it is not legally binding.  

The parties can then go away and re-draft the document with the assistance of their lawyers to formalise the agreement into one that can be made legally binding (for example through preparing consent orders to be filed in the Court).

We offer full day and half day mediations.  Full day are from 9.30am until 5pm (including a break for lunch) and half day mediations are from 9.00am until 1.00pm or from 1.00pm until 5.00pm.  Most parties prefer to book a full day mediation to ensure they do not run out of time to talk through all of the issues that are important to them.  We are able to extend the time for mediation where the discussions are fruitful.  Please refer to our fees page for more details. 

A mediator is an impartial third party who assists parties by facilitating a conversation to assist them to resolve a dispute. They are not legal advisors and do not give legal advice.

A lawyer provides legal advice and is an advocate for their client and the position of their client. In a property dispute, one role of a lawyer is to maximise the client’s entitlement so far as it is consistent with the law. In a parenting dispute, one role of the lawyer is to advocate for their client’s view of what parenting arrangement is in the child’s best interests.

Susie and Myles are mediators with legal qualifications. They understand the legal arguments that can be submitted by lawyers. They understand whether the position of a party is within the likely outcomes that can be achieved through litigation.

Future-focused mediation. Book today.

Ready to discuss how we can support you or your family law practice with exceptional mediation solutions? Book online and discover the difference Walker Webb can make in resolving family law disputes.