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."

Enjoyed this article?

Don't miss out on the knowledge and insights to be gained from our daily news and features.

Subscribe today to unlock unlimited access to in-depth business coverage, expert analysis, and exclusive content across all devices.

Support independent journalism and stay informed with stories that matter to you.

Subscribe now and get 50% off your first year!

Four time-saving tips for automating your investment portfolio
Partner Content
In today's fast-paced investment landscape, time is a valuable commodity. Fortunately, w...
Etoro
Advertisement

Related Stories

“Not our desired outcome”: Telix withdraws from $300m Nasdaq IPO

“Not our desired outcome”: Telix withdraws from $300m Nasdaq IPO

Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX: TLX), one of the nation’s largest...

CommBank joins new ‘intelligence loop’ to combat SMS phishing scams

CommBank joins new ‘intelligence loop’ to combat SMS phishing scams

In an effort to reduce the number of SMS phishing scam victims...

Stralis Aircraft secures funding to make commercial hydrogen planes a reality

Stralis Aircraft secures funding to make commercial hydrogen planes a reality

Brisbane-based Stralis Aircraft has become one step closer to its a...

A year after the PwC scandal, the furore is gone – as well as the appetite for structural change

A year after the PwC scandal, the furore is gone – as well as the appetite for structural change

It was a scandal that rocked the shaky foundations of Australia&rsq...