Before commencing proceedings in Court, you need to know what you are getting yourself into. Do you know that the average waiting time for a matter to be heard before the Family Law Courts in Sydney is about 2 -3 years after filing your application? That means that your life can be effectively “put on hold” for that time – 2 to 3 years – before you can move on.
Have you heard either political party in their extravagant spending proposals in the Federal election campaign promise to appoint more Judges to the Family Law Courts to hear the backlog of cases waiting for a hearing, and reduce these delays? Have you heard either party even mention the problem? Of course not; it is treated as an issue that they hope will go away if it isn’t mentioned. Well, it won’t, and in fact it continues to worsen!
So what can you do if the system is failing and you can’t get to Court?
Arrange a mediation with an experienced and knowledgeable mediator
This has several benefits:
- suit your own timeframe, instead of waiting for a Judge to become available years later
- avoid expensive legal costs, uncertainty and long delays in the court process
- keep a level of control of the decision-making process as you interact with a mediator
How can I arrange a family law mediation?
You can arrange a mediation at a Government Family Relationship Center, and at a number of government funded organizations. Unfortunately, the waiting list to see them also continues to grow, as the same rate as the delay in the Courts. You can wait for as long as 6 months to attend at a mediation at a Family Relationship Centre.
Alternatively, there are many legally qualified independent mediators in NSW who can provide a quality dispute resolution service in a fast and cost-effective way. These mediators are accredited by the Federal Government. They are often solicitors and barristers who have extensive experience in family law cases. An independent mediator will provide a structure for parties to find common ground and to facilitate resolving the dispute in a sensible way.
Written by Les Stubbs
Director – Family Law
(02) 9023 9111
Les is a qualified mediator as well as an accredited family law specialist and has over 30 years experience in family law. If you are fed up with the court system speak to Les and he will help you find a way to avoid unnecessary costs, delay and stress.