BRISBANE CLIENTS INCREASINGLY FAVOUR MEDIATION FOR FAMILY LAW

BRISBANE CLIENTS INCREASINGLY FAVOUR MEDIATION FOR FAMILY LAW

THE popularity of mediation and out-of-court settlements for family law cases has surged over the last five years, according to a director at family law specialists Hartley Healy.

Brett Hartley (pictured) says funding cuts to the family and federal circuit courts are pushing up processing times and encouraging Brisbane clients to avoid the courtroom.

"There has been a strong element of necessity to this recent growth, as funding cuts to the family and federal circuit courts - who deal with more than 80,000 family law matters nationally each year - has greatly increased the average time taken to make rulings," he says.

"Some people have waited for up to two years just to go to trial, and three years for a final judgment.

"In many cases there just aren't enough judges - the Brisbane federal circuit court, for example, has just 11 judges who oversee a very large case catchment."

In 2014, family court chief justice Diana Bryant criticised the federal government's $15 million cut to legal aid for disproportionately affecting family law.

However, Hartley says he also advocates for mediation because it can reduce the emotional impact of cases.

"Ninety-nine per cent of people who come to us do not want their matter to go to trial," he says.

"Whereas once court proceedings were the norm, now they really should be viewed as the last resort."

Family businesses and shared superannuation funds can add an extra layer of complexity to family law cases.

Hartley says clients are looking to mediation as a tool to work through these issues as well

"A family business is often a life support for a family during a successful marriage," he says.

"Upon separation, the ongoing viability of that business and who retains the business can often be an area of dispute and difficult to resolve.

"Whether a super fund should be split, and how much a party should obtain as part of their settlement can sometimes be an area of dispute and adds complexity to resolving the dispute.

"Mediations provide a quick, cost-effective resolution for separating families, and should be seen as a compulsory first-step after separation, not just an option."

Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support

How communications technology can raise the bar on customer service, employee experience
Partner Content
From capturing feedback early to providing messages with a higher rate of cut-through, ...
Advertisement

Related Stories

Hard seltzer start-up enters non-alcoholic market with launch of Fellr Free

Hard seltzer start-up enters non-alcoholic market with launch of Fellr Free

Alcoholic pre-mix brand Fellr is expanding its core range of produc...

The co-founder question: Do you need one, and how do you find someone?

The co-founder question: Do you need one, and how do you find someone?

I’ve played beach volleyball for Australia for the last decad...

EML Payments awarded $320m government contract to help stimulate the Spanish arts sector

EML Payments awarded $320m government contract to help stimulate the Spanish arts sector

Global payment solutions business EML Payments (ASX: EML) will play...

Microbio goes public as med-tech tackles condition that causes 11 million deaths per year

Microbio goes public as med-tech tackles condition that causes 11 million deaths per year

Brisbane-based medical technology company Microbio has stepped...