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Family Law Mediations & Arbitrations: The Research & The Revelations

The Australian Institute of Family Studies regularly conducts studies to obtain information on parenting arrangements after separation.

This article focusses on their findings from their latest study which was released in October 2019.

Key Findings

  • 97% of separated parents do not go to court to determine parenting arrangements.
  • 16% of separated parents engage family dispute resolution services or lawyers to assist them to decide parenting matters.
  • 3% of separated parents use the court as their “main pathway” to formalise parenting arrangements – these families were found to be affected by family violence, child safety concerns and other complex issues.

Common Parenting Arrangements

  • Mother with majority care – 46%
  • Mother with sole care – 27%
  • Mother and father shared care – 21%
  • Father with majority care – 3%
  • Father with sole care – 2%

The study found that it was fairly uncommon for children to have no contact with their father – 9% of cases.

How Are Care Arrangements Determined?

  • Discussions with other parent – 68.9%
  • Nothing specific- arrangements just happened – 10.4%
  • Counselling/mediation/family dispute resolution services – 9.9%
  • Lawyers – 5.7%
  • Court – 2.9%
  • Something else – 2.1%

Of the 2.9% of parents who attended court for parenting arrangements, the majority had experienced family violence (physical violence – 54%, emotional abuse – 85%).

Almost 50% of parents reported that they had concerns for safety.

A Cost-effective Alternative To Court

Save time, money and heartache with family law mediation or arbitration.

Mediation and arbitration are two types of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”), which enables you to resolve your family law dispute without the need to have a court impose a decision.

In most cases, the courts require separated parties to go to mediation first to resolve their disputes.

What Is Mediation

Family law mediation allows you to avoid costly court proceedings and reach an agreement quickly without a judge deciding what is best for you, your children or how to divide up the property at the end of a relationship.

Benefits include:

  • A more cost-effective option compared to court proceedings.
  • Reduce the risk of smaller issues being overlooked.
  • Can be held face-to-face, over the phone, video conferencing or with each party in separate rooms.

What Is Arbitration

Arbitration is a way of resolving disputes outside of court. Parties can agree to appoint an arbitrator (generally a senior barrister or retired judge) whose role is to make a decision for the parties after reviewing the evidence and listening to the parties.

Benefits include:

  • More cost-effective than court.
  • Quicker than court.
  • Arbitration proceedings are confidential.
  • You can have input on how the arbitration will proceed.

How We Can Help

Our team of experienced family lawyers have assisted countless Queenslanders to negotiate and reach an agreement with their former partner. We have the legal expertise and negotiation skills required to ensure your mediation or arbitration is successful. Our family lawyers take the time to listen carefully to your needs and communicate in a professional, effective manner. They will guide you through the process and represent you at mediation or arbitration to quickly resolve your dispute.

Read more about our team here.

Contact Us

Get the best representation. Contact Ryan Murdoch O’Regan Lawyers on 1800 999 529, email, or submit an enquiry below.

We are available to meet with you at any of our local offices (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Beenleigh, Cleveland and Jimboomba) or by telephone or video-conference.

This article is for your information and interest only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and it does not constitute and must not be relied on as legal advice. You must seek specific advice tailored to your circumstances.

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