In Australia, pre-trial mediation is compulsory in family matters. Once a meeting with a specialist family dispute resolution practitioner happens, then only can parties lodge a parenting order application in the Family Court of Australia.
The reasons behind this requirement are complex. Indications lean to excessive workloads for courts, economic drivers relating to limited funding of courts and excessive cost to the public
purse for matters that could be dealt with more cheaply and expeditiously by alternative dispute resolution. There is also influential evidence that signifies the major emotional cost to a family that undergoes court action. Finally, the successes witnessed by alternative dispute resolution for family matters is convincing.
What are the benefits of online mediation for family matters?
When compared to litigation, mediation is:
- More flexible
- Less adversarial
- More informal
- Solution focused over blame-oriented
And given the nature of family matters, the more privacy, the better. After all, you wouldn’t want your divorce to become a publicly documented scene that’s accessible by anyone.
Online mediation facilitates the traditional mediation process using online technologies. With a platform like Immediation, the online mediation process replicates the very same steps as traditional mediation with the added benefits.
Costs for mediating family matters, when dealt with online, are significantly reduced. This allows all parties to access fair representation in a legal situation, without the exorbitant costs associated with traditional legal processes.
Further, the quality of mediators is not compromised as most online mediation platforms have mediators who are qualified. For example, the Immediation expert panel comprises of former judges, top tier firm partners, and career mediators and arbitrators.
With online mediation, the obstacles of geographical location of parties are not an issue, allowing parties to actively engage in resolving their dispute despite not being able to physically
attend court or meetings. This saves on travel costs, logistics, and miscellaneous expenses associated with the arrangements.
There is also a sense of flexibility with mediation, with meeting times adjusted to suit both parties, as opposed to having to work within confined hours as defined by traditional mediators or the Family Court. Flexible hours allow working individuals to continue ordinary work schedules without compromising the outcome of the mediation.
Where there are situations where the relationship involved domestic violence, a perceived power imbalance, or abuse, online mediation excels in allowing the affected party to feel safe attending online meetings to mediate the dispute. By opening up the line of communication, family matters can be quickly tended to with a focus on resolving the issue.
Due to the easy access of online mediation, family disputes tend to successfully resolved much quicker than the traditional process. In fact, Immediation claims that outcomes are as quick as 30 days. As the mediation process happens online, settlement proposals can be made almost instantly with draft templates readily available for use.
With all the advantages associated with online mediation, parties facing family disputes should strongly consider using it as an alternative to traditional dispute resolution. Not only are there massive cost savings, but outcomes also tend to be quicker.