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COVID-19: Alternative Ways to Resolve Family Law Disputes to Avoid Family Court Delays

3 min read

10 Nov 2020

In a recent article the Chief Justice of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court has recently admitted that the family courts will face unacceptable delays resulting from the existing work of the Court and COVID-19.

Prior to COVID-19 the Courts were working towards reducing the delay. There was intense case management with the view of trying to resolve the case for the benefit of families involved.

2020 has been a devastating year. This has not spared the business of the Court.

Not all family law disputes end up in court, but for those who are separating or have children’s matters before the court this will be longer than normal delays in reaching a resolution.

This is a timely reminder that parties in a family law matter should attempt to resolve their case by alternate means. There are many avenues available, including:

  • Negotiating with the Other Party
    Private Negotiations can be effective at any stage of your family law matter. This can be between the parties themselves or through their lawyers. Experienced Family Lawyers can assist with these negotiations and reach an effective resolution quickly.
  • Attending Family Dispute Resolution Services
    Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a type of mediation, designed to assist families who are separating to resolve conflicts and disputes, particularly in relation to the care of their children. An expert FDR practitioner will meet with you and your former spouse to discuss the care arrangements of your children, as well as any other areas of conflict. Such practitioners are impartial and are there to help you resolve issues prior to progressing through court.In most cases, FDR is compulsory before you can apply to the court for a parenting order. However, you shouldn’t feel like you just need to go for protocol’s sake – FDR can be a valuable tool to help you and your former spouse/partner communicate openly and reach an agreement regarding the care arrangements for your children which is in their best interests.
  • Attending Mediation
    Mediation is a good dispute resolution tool to use and can be done at any stage to reach an agreement. Mediation can be effective as it is in neutral surroundings and conducted with a mediator that will guide the parties so they can reach an agreement. Read more here.
  • Going Through Arbitration
    In arbitration the matter is decided by an arbitrator (usually a qualified barrister). Family law arbitration resolves matters involving the division of assets between separating couples. You can choose your arbitrator and typically receive a judgement within 4 months. The decision is also legally binding.

The above options are just some of the ways that you can look to resolving your case early. Not attempting these options may lead to a significant delay for you in your parenting or property case. This may lead to increased costs and delays in your case.

At PCL Lawyers you will be working with an experienced team of family lawyers who can assess your case and consider dispute resolution alternatives. This will help you to avoid ending up in court and the subsequent delays.

We expect to feel the impacts of COVID-19 in the family courts for a while to come. This does not mean that you need to stand by and wait for you case to be called. You should take this opportunity to actively seek to resolve your case so that you can move things forward sooner rather than later.

Our Family Lawyers are here to help you. Call us to discuss your matter and we can work with you to see what options are best suited to you.

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