Family Dispute Resolution

Karen Phillip is a registered Family Dispute Resolution and Mediation Practitioner with the Federal Attorney General’s Department. The office is located on the upper Central Coast / Lake Macquarie area of NSW. Find me on the Australian Attorney General’s FDRP Website.
Mediation is defined as “The insertion of a human buffer between people who need assistance to interact with each other.”
Human interaction lies at the heart of the mediation process. It involves disturbance, disruption and dissonance out of which something emerges which is greater than the sum of the parts. This approach is solution-focused and outcome-driven. Mediators require a broad range of skills of which the human relationship skills of empathy and being totally present in the moment with the parents are the most important. The potential for the emergence of the new and the unexpected is the true power and promise of mediation.
Family Mediation is used to resolve living arrangements for children after the Parents have decided to separate. Parenting Plans are drawn up so all parties have clear directives and information on where and when the children reside, who they spend time with, education issues, health issues, etc.
These Plans are done by consent of both parties. They are organised within an environment that is non-threatening, friendly and understanding. No sides are taken; both parties are given ample opportunity to voice their desires and concerns. Mediation reduces conflict that often escalates due to Court.
The Mediation is usually undertaken over a 2 hour period, where both parties agree on arrangements. The agreed Parenting Plan is drafted by the Mediator, parents sign the papers and exchange agreements. If either parent wishes to file the Parenting Plan in the Family Court they can do so via a solicitor, this makes them a court-enforced document.
The Family Court of Australia has ruled that Parenting Plans MUST be Mediated, they are not to be heard in a court unless there are Violence or Abuse issues connected with the matter.
Family Relationship Centers can attend to these Plans however there is usually a 3 to 4-month wait, 3 separate interview sessions required, a parenting course must be attended and a fee payable.

With this private and professional Mediation, one 2 to 3-hour session resolves most issues. Matters can usually be heard and dealt with quickly so parents can both continue to spend time with their children after separation. This enables parents to move forward in their lives without the concern of when they may see their children.

Appointments can usually be made within a 1 to 2-week time frame. Appointment times are flexible with after hours available plus weekends if necessary.

Both parties are asked to bring with them to the Mediation meeting, their ‘wish’ list. This enables the Mediator to determine agreement areas to fast track Mediation and concentrate on those areas where Parents may not yet agree.

The Mediation follows Family Law Legislation to ensure both parties and the children receive fair and equitable Parenting Plans. It is required for the best interest of the children are met.

Property Agreements can be part of the mediation process and completed when a parenting plan has been agreed upon. Some parents feel they are entitled to more because they are the money earner and their partner works part-time of cares for the children. This is incorrect. Regardless of whom earns what, all money and assets acquired within the relationship or marriage belong equally to both. This division is adjusted depending on the age and care arrangements for the children.

Property arrangements can be usually organised within the same meeting. This includes division of property, assets, superannuation, vehicles and bank accounts. If you are (or have been) married or in a de facto relationship, all assets belong to both partners regardless of whose name any asset is in. Same applies to liability or debt, regardless of whose name it is in, the liability may belong to both partners.

If Mediation is unable to progress or either party fails to mediate matters, then the Mediator can issue a form 60I Certificate so the matter may proceed to the Family Court where a magistrate will rule on arrangements.

If one person feels intimidated or fearful of the other, please contact Karen to discuss or to arrange the steps to protect you.

Please contact Karen Phillip via email or call 0418-216-836 for details, fees and appointment times. Karen will then contact the other party to arrange a time suitable to both parents. This way parties do not have to be in direct contact with each other outside of mediation if their relationship is strained or difficult.

Find me on the Australian Attorney General’s FDRP Website