What is Mediation all about?

Mediation can be a lot better than going to court.

As a mediation service, DisputeOver aims to assist in the resolution of your dispute by enabling honest and open discussion at a meeting between you and the other person in the presence of one of our Mediators, David Sharrock, Simon Matters, or Margot Druce.

Our aim is for you and the other person to understand and explore the issues which have led to the dispute and together seek an outcome which will meet the interests of both of you.

It is not about one person winning and the other losing. Rather, it is about you and the other person together discovering a way forward that you can both live with.

You will not be given legal advice or told what to do.

During mediation, you and the other person will remain in control of the outcome to your dispute. You will be encouraged to reach your own decision, with the support of our Mediator.

Your mediation will be conducted in accordance with the Practice Standards for Mediators operating under the National Mediator Accreditation System.

Family Dispute Resolution will be conducted in accordance with the Attorney-General’s Department Regulation of Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners Regulator Performance Framework.

What are the benefits of Mediation?

Many disputes need to be resolved by the conduct of legal proceedings before a court or tribunal.

Such proceedings can be slow, costly, worrying, and take up a lot of time and effort for those involved. In the end, the judge may or may not agree with your case.

While not all mediations are successful, mediation may nonetheless give you an opportunity to avoid legal proceedings so that:

  • Expense is minimised
  • There could  be a quick end to the dispute
  • Worry and anxiety can be reduced
  • Time and inconvenience can be saved
  • Uncertainty about the outcome can be  resolved (because that is decided by those in dispute)
  • Solutions can be more innovative and helpful than orders made by a judge, and
  • You can focus on other issues in your life.

Does Mediation always work?

The short answer to this question is “no”.

Mediation does not always work for any number of reasons which might only unfold during the course of the Mediation.

Mediation is but one way of trying to resolve disputes and so other ways of dispute resolution may be more suitable. Sometimes, even a court or tribunal hearing might be necessary or preferred.

Further, the usual process which we use for conducting a Mediation might not be suitable, in which event an alternative Mediator or Mediation Service using a different process may need to be engaged.

Mediation of a dispute is like trying to solve a complex, mega jigsaw puzzle. It can be a bit overwhelming at the start and quite impossible to solve after a while.

And in trying mediation to resolve your dispute, we at DisputeOver certainly cannot guarantee a successful outcome, let alone promise any result.

However, in giving the jigsaw puzzle a go, and with a bit of help from us in putting all the pieces together, you just never know:

YOUR DISPUTE COULD SOON BE OVER!

However, if Mediation is not for you, Sharrock Pitman Legal have a team of quality lawyers who are well positioned to assist you. Their specialised focus is on caring for people in business and providing effective solutions to their vast array of legal needs. As Accredited Specialists in Business Law, Property Law, Commercial Litigation and Family Law, Sharrock Pitman Legal are able to provide high quality legal advice on all aspects of running a business, employment law issues, contested court and tribunal proceedings, and family law matters.

What disputes can be mediated?

DisputeOver can mediate any dispute relating to businesses and not for profit organisations, as well as family law.

However, other types of disputes involving various domestic issues can also be mediated.

For business and not for profit organisations, our mediation service can typically handle the following areas of dispute:

  • Contracts
  • Insurance claims
  • Unfair dismissal
  • Partnerships
  • Shareholders
  • Franchising
  • Employment
  • Wills and estates
  • Commercial and general litigation
  • Property.

For family law matters, our mediation service can typically handle the following areas of dispute:

  • Children’s matters
  • Property and financial settlements
  • Parenting arrangements and child access
  • Lawyer assisted mediation

FDR Mediation is a specialist form of Mediation for Family Law. As an accredited FDR practitioner, Margot Druce is able to support individuals to reach an amicable resolution with parenting and property disputes following on from a separation, in a safe and caring environment.

Margot is registered with the Attorney General’s Department of the Federal Government as a FDR practitioner, and is the only professional who is able to issue a 60(I) Certificate which allows you to apply to a Family Court for Parenting Orders (in the event that an agreement is unable to be reached).

We will help you to explore the various options available for you and your children, and enable you to make the best possible choices to support your family through this process in a safe and caring environment. Our aim is to assist you in reaching an agreement that will suit everyone involved, and also to assist you in positively recovering and moving on with your lives.

As a mediator and FDR practitioner, Margot will understand your issues and work alongside you to resolve these issues through private mediation, with the aim of reaching an agreement without proceeding to Court.

As your FDR practitioner, we are impartial and do not take sides. Instead, we will help you to explore your family issues in an objective and positive manner, with the aim of reaching an agreement which will suit both you and your former spouse or partner. Any family dispute is an emotional and difficult time. We provide support in that respect but FDR does not focus on emotions and instead objectively focuses on moving forward to resolve your dispute in the best manner possible.

What is the usual process for Mediation?

Our usual process is intended to directly empower you and the other person to resolve your own dispute with the support of our Mediator.

Preliminary:
  • You and the other person to the dispute will both engage David Sharrock, Simon Matters or Margot Druce as Mediator by entering into an Agreement to Mediate
  • They will prepare for  mediation by reading the material which has been submitted by you and the other person
  • Sometimes, where lawyers are involved and the dispute is complex, then the Mediator may convene an informal conference to agree on the process for mediation, the production of further documents, any special needs and the like.
Location:
  • The mediation can be held in the mediation rooms of DisputeOver at Glen Waverley for a room hire fee
  • Alternatively, mediation can happen at any other suitable location which has been booked and paid for by you and the other person
  • Mediation can also be held in regional areas or interstate
Opening of Mediation:
  • There is a joint meeting at the outset where the Mediator will  introduce everyone and explain the purpose of the mediation and the roles of each person
  • Guidelines for the conduct of the mediation will be explained by the Mediator
  • You and the other person will be invited to make opening comments
Agenda setting:
  • From the comments made by you and the other person, the Mediator will assist you both to identify and agree upon the key issues in dispute
Exploring issues:
  • You and the other person  will be encouraged to explore fully each issue by responding to questions, as well as talking about your perspectives, interests, feelings and opinions
Private Discussions:
  • The joint meeting ends and you and the other person will then meet separately with the Mediator for the purpose of canvassing possible options for resolving your dispute, with those meetings to be private and confidential
  • During these private discussions, the other person will wait outside the mediation room
  • Everything said in these private discussions will be totally confidential and nothing revealed to the Mediator will be disclosed by him to the other person, unless express prior permission  has been given
Brainstorming options:
  • After completion of private discussions, the Mediator will convene another joint meeting with you and the other person
  • Each of you will be given an opportunity to raise your respective options for resolution of the dispute and you can then begin to negotiate an outcome with each other in the Mediator’s presence
  • With the Mediator’s assistance, additional options may be generated and negotiation facilitated, hopefully  to discover an outcome that meets the interests of both of you and  that both can  live with
Further private discussions:
  • If need be, further private discussions can be held between the Mediator and each of you  should there be any unresolved issues and to explore any further options
Agreement and conclusion:
  • If agreement has been reached during the mediation, then you and the other person  (or your lawyers) will write down the  agreement for signing
  • Further steps which may be needed to finalise and implement the agreement  can be discussed and agreed
  • If no agreement has been reached, then the mediation will end with each of you to take such further action as you may wish, without breaching the confidentiality of the whole mediation process.

What is the usual process for Family Dispute Resolution?

Our usual process is to empower both parties to resolve their own dispute with the support of our Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP), Margot Druce.

For the process to be effective, both you and your former partner must be willing to listen, and genuinely be prepared to compromise, while being committed to reaching a solution in a safe environment.

Preliminary
  • Upon contacting our office, our support team will request your contact details and the contact details of the other person, and make an appointment for you to attend an Intake Interview so that Margot can assess the safety, willingness and capacity to participate in FDR
  • We will then contact the other person to invite them to participate in FDR and arrange for them to attend an interview with Margot so that she can assess safety, willingness and capacity to participate in FDR
  • If the safety, willingness and capacity to participate in FDR is established, a date will then be arranged for the FDR Mediation (to be agreed upon by both parties).
Location
  • The mediation can be held in the mediation rooms of DisputeOver at Glen Waverley for a room hire fee
  • Alternatively, mediation can happen at any other suitable location which has been paid for by you or the other person
  • Mediation can also be held in regional areas or interstate

Opening Mediation

Joint session (if applicable)
  • There is a joint meeting at the outset where Margot welcomes both of you, and will define the purpose and process of FDR
  • Guidelines for the conduct of FDR will be explained to both of you by Margot
  • You and the other person are invited to make opening statements
  • If it is not appropriate for a joint session to be held (if one party does not feel comfortable), Margot will conduct shuttle mediation, which is the process of our Mediator assisting both parties to reach an agreement without being present in the same room at the same time
Explore issues
  • Following on from opening statements, each person will be encouraged to explore their issues and talk about perspectives, interests, feelings and opinions in a respectful and non-conflictual manner
Agenda setting
  • Having explored the issues, an agenda will be agreed upon to discuss these issues in more detail
Joint discussions/brainstorming
  • Each of you will be given an opportunity to discuss the potential options for resolution
  • Discussions will be held around these options, to negotiate a resolution in a respectful and non-conflictual manner
Further private discussions
  • If need be, private discussions can be held between each of you and Margot should there be any unresolved issues and to explore any further options available
Agreement and conclusion
  • If an agreement has been reached during the mediation session, then you and the other person will write down the Parenting Plan for signing
  • Further steps which may be needed to finalise and implement the Parenting Plan can be discussed and agreed upon during this time, to be included in the Parenting Plan
  • If no resolution has been reached, then the mediation will end with each of you to take such further action as you wish, without breaching the confidentiality of the mediation process. In these circumstances, upon request from either party Margot is able to issue a Section 60(I) Certificate.

How much does Mediation cost?

DisputeOver has fixed fees, depending upon the type and complexity of the dispute, for either a half day mediation (being up to 4 hours) or a full day mediation (being up to 8 hours).

You will therefore know what you will be paying, up front and with no surprises.

For any significant preparation time (including any preliminary conference), and for any time in excess of either a half day or a full day, such additional time is charged at an hourly rate. However, any such extra fee will not be an estimate but rather a fixed fee, disclosed and agreed up front.

Full fees can be advised to you upon enquiry and will be included in the Mediation Agreement for signing by you and the other person to the dispute before any work is undertaken.

Fees are shared between the parties and are payable in full prior to the commencement of the Mediation.

You will find that the fees of DisputeOver are very competitive indeed.

What next?

If you have any queries at all or would like DisputeOver to mediate your dispute, please contact us.

After you provide some detail about your dispute via phone or email, we can discuss and agree fees and convene an early appointment for Mediation, either at our Mediation rooms in Glen Waverley or elsewhere.

We will then email our completed Mediation Agreement for approval, signing and return, together with payment of the agreed fees.

The Mediation can then proceed and YOUR DISPUTE COULD SOON BE OVER!

Start the process today … Your dispute could soon be over!

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