Traditional litigation is not the only way to resolve your family law issue. Several alternatives exist and are widely used in family law. Two commonly used alternative dispute resolution methods are mediation and arbitration. At Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers, we can facilitate and advise on both of these processes. Our principal, Sarah Bevan is an AIFLAM Accredited Arbitrator. Her in depth knowledge with arbitration will be a priceless asset to your case. Below you will find some information about the alternative dispute resolution methods that we use at Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers. If you require any assistance with your family law issues, call Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers now for specialist legal advice. Our contact number is 1300 00SBFL.
Our principal solicitor, Sarah Bevan holds many qualifications. Two of the most significant are outlined below:
Law Society Family Law Accredited Specialist
Sarah Bevan is a Law Society Accredited Specialist in Family Law, and has been since 2005. The Law Society started the Accreditation Scheme in order to assist the public in identifying which solicitors are proficient in particular areas of law. In order to become a specialist, you must have practiced in the legal specialty area for three years and have practiced law for five years. By achieving this accreditation, it demonstrates that Sarah Bevan is an expert in the area of family law.
AIFLAM Accredited Arbitrator
Sarah Bevan is also an accredited family law arbitrator. This means that she has received an accreditation through AIFLAM, also known as the National Body for Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is used in family law matters. It is a form of dispute resolution, which is an alternative to traditional litigation. You can think of mediation as an assisted negotiation, where a specially trained mediator will assist the parties to the mediation in coming to a mutually beneficial outcome.
It is an informal method of resolving a dispute. It is also significantly more cost and time effective then going to court.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration is another form of alternative dispute resolution. Similarly to mediation, it is usually more cost and time efficient than traditional litigation.
How it works is that each party and/or their legal representative will present their argument to the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. An arbitrator is an independent third party. Their job is to make a decision based on the arguments presented by both sides.
In April 2016, the Family Court of Australia introduced new rules regarding the use of arbitration to resolve financial disputes in the area of family law. Chapter 26B of the Family Law Rules contains these amendments. These rules now allow for arbitration to be used more widely to resolve family law disputes as they outline the rules that must be abided by, by all involved in the arbitration. As the process is now confined by these rules, it makes it a lot more efficient with time and ensures that the best decision is made for all parties.
For example, the parties have a general duty of disclosure to the arbitrator. This means that they must give full and frank disclosure of all relevant information to the arbitrator in a timely matter.
Several of the new rules impose time limits on parties to respond to notices and present documents. This is important as it sets a time frame upon which the matter will be settled.
In some family law cases, a court may order that arbitration take place. Having access to an accredited arbitrator, such as Sarah Bevan may assist you in preparing for a court appointed arbitration.
What issues can an arbitrator make decisions on?
Arbitration can be used to resolve property disputes in family law. Issues such as the distribution of assets and liabilities can be settled during arbitration. Payment of debts, transfer of property and splitting superannuation and other assets can be dealt with by the arbitrator too.
What are the advantages of arbitration?
Using arbitration as the method to resolve your family law dispute presents several advantages. Arbitration is a confidential process. It is arranged between the parties involved and does not take place in an open court. If a discrete and confidential resolution is what you are looking for, then arbitration may be a good option for you.
Arbitration is also a more customised and informal process. Each party selects their legal representative and the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators who will consider their matter. In a traditional litigation setting, you do not have a choice in the judge that hears your matter, so the flexibility of selecting your arbitrator/s is a great advantage.
In the majority of cases, arbitration is a speedier process than other methods of dispute resolution. Cases that are initiated through the traditional litigation route can take years to be resolved. As mentioned previously, arbitration tends to be significantly cheaper than traditional litigation.
Another great advantage of arbitration is the fact that the decision made by the arbitrator is binding upon the parties. This adds a degree of finality to the dispute.
What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?
There are many similarities that mediation and arbitration share, however there is one aspect of these alternative dispute resolution processes that makes them profoundly different. This is the fact that mediation is a non-binding process and arbitration is a binding process.
If you believe that an alternative dispute resolution process such as arbitration may resolve your situation, then contact Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers immediately. Going to court is not your only option. Our team can provide you with the competent legal advice that you require to decide how to proceed with your family law issues. We will lay out all viable options and explain each in plain English for you. Sarah Bevan who is a Law Society Accredited Specialist in Family Law and an AIFLAM Accredited Arbitrator leads our team. With years of experience utilising alternatives to litigation to successfully resolve family law disputes, you can trust us to assist with your matter. To find out how alternative dispute resolution may be used to resolve your dispute, contact Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers on 1300 007 235