KDK Family Law

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Postal: PO Box 897, Claremont WA 6910

Phone: 08 6478 7892

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What is a Mediation Style Conference?

Mediation style conferences (MSC) are private meetings designed to help resolve disputes in family law matters without going to trial. These involve the parties, their lawyers, and a mediator who facilitates the discussion and negotiation.

The primary goal of a MSC mediation is to resolve the matter early. It fosters a cooperative environment where parties work together to find mutually beneficial solutions.

What is the Mediation Process?

In the Family Court of Western Australia, parties involved in property matters are required to attend a MSC or conciliation conference (a court event not dissimilar to mediation). Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  1. First return date:

    the Judicial Officer will direct the parties on the preferred path for mediation if they have not already agreed.

  2. Conciliation Conference:

    For smaller asset pools, the court may schedule a conciliation conference, usually set 2-3 months after the first return date. These sessions last about an hour and aim to resolve the matter.

  3. Mediation Style Conference:

    This involves a private meeting between the parties, their lawyers, and a mediator. The mediator conducts intake sessions prior to the conference to understand the dispute’s scope.

  4. Intake Sessions: 

    Before the mediation day, the mediator meets with each party separately to gather information, identify issues, understand expectations, and prepare the parties emotionally for the mediation process.

  5. Joint Session:

    On the mediation day, parties convene in a joint session where each party gives an opening statement. Lawyers then review the schedule of assets item by item. This session typically lasts about an hour.

  6. Separate Sessions:

    After the joint session, parties move to separate rooms to continue negotiations. If an agreement is reached, final orders or a heads of agreement are prepared.

What Are the Risks if the Matter Does Not Resolve?

  1. Significant Delays:

    The wait for a trial can be extensive, often not less than two years. This prolonged period can create uncertainty and stress for the parties involved.

  2. Legal Costs:

    Legal fees for going to trial can be substantial, typically not less than $50,000. These costs can quickly deplete the parties’ asset pool, which they might already be dividing.

  3. Emotional Toll:

    The adversarial nature of a trial can take a significant emotional toll on both parties. The process can be contentious and stressful, impacting personal well-being.

  4. Unpredictable Outcomes:

    The outcome of a trial can be uncertain. Unlike mediation, where parties have more control over the resolution, a judge will make the final decision, which might not align with either party’s expectations.

Confidentiality in Mediation

It is important to note that all discussions during mediation or conciliation conferences are “without prejudice.” This means that the other party cannot later use any assertions, concessions, or offers made during these discussions.

Need Legal Advice? 

f you have a family law inquiry about mediation, please visit our FAQ, telephone our office for an appointment. Our experienced team of family lawyers is here to guide you through the process and help you achieve a resolution.

Visit our recent outcomes and case studies page to see how our mediation services have helped others like you

Please feel welcome to contact KDK Family Law to discuss any of our services we offer

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