How Much Does Mediation Cost in QLD?
Divorce, custody disputes, and family issues can often be challenging to resolve. If you struggle to agree with the other parties involved, a Brisbane family lawyer can provide professional mediation services.
Engaging a mediator is an excellent way to resolve complex issues without needing to go to court and seek legal judgment. If the matter is time or cost-sensitive, mediation is an affordable and quick way to resolve it. In this article, we’ll explore mediation in further detail and determine how much the services cost in Queensland.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a type of formal negotiation that an impartial third party facilitates. During the process, parties in disagreement will have a chance to discuss the issues at hand and explore options for moving forward.
In Queensland, mediation is a private service that’s often offered by law firms, although mediators aren’t required to be legal experts. Typically, disagreeing parties will hire a mediator as an alternative to attending court to receive a judgment on their matter.
Cost is the major benefit of mediation. Going to court is a process that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Alternatively, a mediator can help resolve your issue for a reasonable fee, and they’ll often be able to determine in a much shorter time frame.
When Should You Engage a Mediator?
Mediators specialize in conflict resolution. If you’re involved in a dispute that’s causing you stress, costing you money or harming your family, it’s time to look into mediation. You can hire a mediator at any time to help with issues like:
- Divorce or separation;
- Prenuptial agreements;
- Custody arrangements;
- Dividing property and estates;
- Resolving family disputes.
Before hiring a mediator, ensure everyone involved is ready to resolve. There’s no point in spending the money on mediation services if the parties involved negotiate in bad faith. If you’re dealing with someone who can’t or won’t come to a reasonable solution, it’s better to take the matter to court.
The Five Stages of Mediation
For the large part, mediation is simply a discussion that is facilitated by a professional. This process can be useful for parties that are on bad terms with each other, but it’s also a useful tool in situations that require complex divisions of property or custody. Generally speaking, your mediation day will be broken into five stages:
- Opening Remarks – Both parties should introduce themselves and make opening remarks about their side of the issue. The mediator should also explain the purpose of the meeting to help keep discussions on track.
- Joint Discussion – Once opening remarks have been made, there is a chance for the group to discuss the issues at hand. The goal here is to deal with the dispute and work towards a solution. Solutions vary, but mediators can help you resolve payments, custody, or property division.
- Private Discussion – After joint discussions, each party will meet with the mediator privately to discuss the finer details of their case. The mediator’s role is to communicate your position and help each party reach an agreeable outcome.
- Negotiating Terms – Once the mediator has met with the parties and discussed what they are willing to offer, negotiations can begin. Depending on the dynamics, this may be done in a group format, or the mediator may need to be a go-between.
- Reaching a Settlement – Here, the mediator will finalize the terms of your settlement. If you can’t settle then the mediator may help explain alternative options, such as going to court. Any accommodation needs to be signed by all the parties involved.
How Much Does Mediation Cost in QLD?
The cost of mediation services varies widely in Queensland. Depending on the complexity of the estates involved and how long the process takes, you can expect to pay anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000 for mediation through a Brisbane family lawyer.
In addition to the cost of hiring the mediator, you’ll also need to factor in other expenses like travel and to hire a neutral venue. It’s a good idea to host your mediation in a professional meeting space (such as a boardroom) that allows access to smaller, more private rooms for the discussion process.
While mediation might appear expensive, it’s one of the best ways to save money when managing a separation. Mediation costs significantly less than alternatives such as going to court, so it’s an option that’s worth exploring.