In 2006, the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) was amended. One of the reforms that was introduced was a requirement that parties attend dispute resolution (also known as mediation) in order to resolve parenting disputes. This amendment was introduced in the hope that it would lead to a decrease in the number of applications filed in the Family Court.

There are exceptions to the requirement to attend mediation, you should seek legal advice to determine if you are exempted from having to attend mediation.

The Family Court often features on the news and it is likely that you have read about or heard about the proposed reforms to the Family Court in the news.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies has released a research study in October 2019 regarding parenting arrangements after separation. You might be interested to read their report here.

One of the reasons there has been a push for reforms to the Family Court is due to the time it takes to have your matter heard in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court.

One of the key messages from this report is that most people do not go to court, they decide their own parenting arrangements. The matters that do proceed to a court are usually very complex matters.

The Attorney-General’s office released a statement in May 2018 stating that:

“Despite the number of cases filed each year remaining relatively static over the past five years, the number of family law matters awaiting resolution has grown from 17,200 to 21,000 and the median time taken to reach trial has grown in both courts, from 10.8 months to 15.2 months in the Federal Circuit Court and from 11.5 months to 17 months in the Family Court.”

Mediation if appropriate for your matter provides you an expedient, less expensive way to resolve your dispute.

Contact our friendly staff if you wish to learn more about the process.