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Property Mediation

Family Dispute Resolution (also referred to as Parenting and/or Property Mediation) is a process that can assist separated couples and families reach agreement about disputed property matters.  With Property Mediation, parties are encouraged to make decisions on how the common property pool can be equitably distributed between themselves.  Although this process has traditionally been handled by lawyers and the courts, the Family Law Courts now require separated parties to attempt Property Mediation prior to approaching court.  At Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns, our Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners & Property Mediators, are fully-accredited, and section 60I certificates can be issued.

Reaching agreement through Property Mediation can save both parties emotional distress, many months, and a considerable amount of money.  Plus, parties can mutually agree on their own outcome, rather than it being imposed on them by a court.  At Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns clients can mediate in person (when the Mediator advises that it is appropriate), via phone or via videochat platforms like Zoom and MSTeams.  The intended outcome of Property Mediation is the development of a Record of Property Agreement, detailing how parties would like the property pool to be distributed and their financial relationship ended.  An application can then be made to court for a Binding Financial Agreement (and we encourage parties to receive legal advice/assistance with this).

Divorce and separation, whether married or de facto, can be a time of great stress and uncertainty.

Separated couples who disagree about property matters are now legally required to make a genuine effort to resolve their differences through mediation prior to asking a court to decide (exemptions do apply).  Property Mediation (also referred to as Family Dispute Resolution) is a common, inexpensive form of dispute resolution, where an impartial third-person assists parties to have the required conversations around distributing their property pool equitably.

Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns offers a range of family law mediation services via phone and videoconferencing platforms Australia-wide – as well as in-person appointments at our relaxed Cairns office (yes, we are based in Cairns, not like many operators advertising on Google that are actually from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne).  We pride ourselves on providing friendly, informed and professional property mediation services.

Is my dispute suitable for Property Mediation?

Australian Family Law Courts now require all separated couples that cannot decide on how to equitably distribute their common property pool to attempt Property Mediation.  The Court will require parties to present a s60I certificate indicating what the outcome of mediation was.  Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns has fully-accredited mediators that can issue these s60I certificates as appropriate.  We also do not charge any additional fees for these, and usually issue them within 24 hours when appropriate.

Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns can assist with a structured property mediation process.  This means that certain circumstances that may involve domestic violence, or acrimonious relations between parties, are till suitable for a Property Mediation process.  However, this is only when assessed as appropriate to proceed by the Mediator, and options such as phone or videochat (Zoom, MSTeams etc), without or without direct voice contact between parties, is explored.

Please discuss any concerns you have with the Reception team, or with your Mediator during the individual Intake & Assessment session.

Who can start mediation?

Either party of a separated couple can commence, or initiate, a property mediation process.  Clients can advise the other party that they will, or would like to, commence a property mediation process, or you can rely on Northern Frontiers Cairns to do this as part of our formal process.  Some clients believe it will achieve a better result if they advise their ex-partner of the mediation process, whereas others prefer to limit direct contact with the other party and ask Northern Frontiers Cairns to assist.  Please discuss your preferences, and specific situation, with our Reception team.

Is mediation expensive?

Northern Frontiers Mediation Cairns provides an inexpensive way of resolving your family dispute.  As a private mediation service provider, we offer streamlined processes – and that means personalised, prompt, affordable service for you. Pricing is set at less than half the hourly rate of most legal services. The more agreement reached through mediation, the less time and money you spend on legal fees and court costs.  For a full breakdown of our mediation costs click here to review our mediation brochure.

The following is additional important information on our mediation process.

What is Property Mediation, or formally known as Family Dispute Resolution?

It’s really just a specialised form of family mediation.

Family law in Australia has undergone a number of changes in recent decades, with the introduction of compulsory mediation for separated couples being one of the most notable. Put simply, separated couples who cannot reach agreement around the equitable distribution of financial and property assets and liabilities are now legally required to make a genuine effort to resolve their dispute through family law mediation.  This is now a requirement prior to asking a court to decide things for them (exceptions do apply).

Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns provides a neutral space, and an impartial Mediator, in which separated couples can discuss property issues with a view to developing a Record of Property Agreement that is both fair and equitable, and at less than half the hourly rate of a lawyer.

Family law mediators (also known as Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners) are legally obligated to remain impartial, provide information about family separation and create an environment in which parties can speak openly and honestly about their financial situation. All that is said in mediation remains confidential and cannot be used as evidence in any court in Australia (some limited exceptions can apply).

Essentially, Property Mediation can offer a way for separated couples to remain in control of their financial future.

Who can start Property Mediation?

Either party can start a Property Mediation process at Northern Frontiers Mediation.  Parties can advise the other party that they plan to commence, or already have, or they can let Northern Frontiers make contact.  The Australian Family Courts now require both parties to attempt mediation, and produce a s60I certificate, prior to taking any matters to court.

Payment information for Family Law Mediation sessions

Unless advised prior it is assumed that both parties pay their own costs of the Property Mediation process at Northern Frontiers Mediation Cairns.  Pre-payment for any booked sessions is required at least two days prior to a session.  If more than 2 (two) business days notice is not given for cancellation, or there is a “No Show”, a 100% charge applies with no credits provided.  If you have booked a session as part of the Family Dispute Resolution process, funds are not refunded for any time that is not used during a joint Property Mediation session, for whatever reason.  It is at the discretion of the Mediator as to whether a credit is issued.  Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns’ pricing includes the preparation of a Record of Property Agreement when required.

What is the process for Property Mediation at Northern Frontiers Cairns?

Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns offers a staged mediation process as follows:

Step 1: Individual Intake & Assessment session between Party A and the Mediator. Permission sought to contact the other party and assess their willingness to mediate. If ‘Yes’ we proceed as follows…

Step 2: Individual Intake session between Party B and the Mediator.

Step 3:  Northern Frontiers Reception provides a number of available mediation session times over the next two weeks and confirms a suitable time with both parties.

Step 4: 1st joint Property Mediation session is held.  This can be face-to-face, or via phone or videochat (MSTeams, Zoom etc).

Additional mediation sessions may be required depending on the number of agenda items and progress made in the 1st mediation session.

The Mediator records any agreement made in the form of a Record of Property Agreement. Both parties receive a copy of their agreement along with referral to legal advice as appropriate.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

In some circumstances the Mediator may assess your matter as ‘not appropriate’ for mediation and issue a s60I certificate.  This may occur at any stage of the mediation process and because Mediators are bound by strict confidentiality requirements you are encouraged to direct any questions you may have about a s60I certificate to a family law lawyer.

Recommended Reading:

Julie Hodge, one of Cairns’ leading family law lawyers, recently published a book called ‘Moving On – What you need to know about Separation and Divorce’ in the hope it may assist people affected by family separation as they move through the family law system. For more information, or to purchase a copy, please click here.

Is Property Mediation expensive?

Property Mediation is intended to be an alternative to only relying on lawyers and Courts to resolve your matter.  As lawyers cost anywhere from $350 – $700 per hour, Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns charges less than half these average rates.  This means you can save considerable money (often $1,000s) by utilising an impartial Mediator to assist in resolving your matters, rather than just lawyers (where each party requires their own).

 

Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns is a family-owned and operated business offering prompt and confidential fee-for-service mediation to residents of Far North Queensland (including rural and remote) locations and Australia-wide via phone and videochat platforms (Zoom, MSTeams etc).  Our clients can mediate from our Cairns North office (when appropriate), or from the comfort of your own home if you so wish. No need to spend time and money on travel or disrupt your work week. We strive to keep fees low whilst still maintaining high quality, personalised service.

Is my matter appropriate for a formal Property Mediation process?

If you are separated, or in the process of divorcing, and cannot agree with your ex-partner on a fair and equitable distribution of your common assets a Property Mediation process may be required to assist.  Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns believes every situation is unique which is why our services are personalised and tailored towards understanding and meeting your individual needs.

Please note:  Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns does not provide legal or financial advice.  We encourage all parties, where possible, to seek this independent advice, and it is up to each client whether they disclose this advice during mediation.

Do I also need a lawyer or other professional advice?

Northern Frontiers Property Mediation Cairns recommends that both parties seek their own independent legal and/or financial advice.  It is not a requirement for you to disclose this advice during mediation, but the advice can assist in you being aware of how common property pools can be practicably distributed, and in a ‘fair and equitable way’.  This advice can also ensure that your Property Agreement is founded in current family law principles, and therefore more likely to be accepted by the Courts as part of receiving a Binding Financial Agreement.  If you require referral details for a suitably qualified family law lawyer please contact Northern Frontiers Reception or ask your Mediator.

How soon can I get started?

As soon as you like! The longest you might wait for an Intake and Assessment Session is normally 2 – 4 business days. This is your first formal step in taking control of your financial situation and you can move on with your life…

Appointment times:

For your convenience Northern Frontiers Mediation & Counselling Cairns offers appointments from 7.30am weekdays.  Out of hours appointments are available on a case-by-case basis.  To enquire call 1300 90 81 70, text message via mobile on 0419 531 269, email reception@northernfrontiers.com.au or use the online chat feature at the bottom right of this webpage.

Ready for a new direction?

Contact our Reception and confidentially discuss your unique situation today.  Simply call 1300 90 81 70, send a detailed text message to our client mobile on 0419 531 269, email reception@northernfrontiers.com.au or use the online chat feature at the bottom right of this webpage to speak with someone now.  Don't worry, there is no obligation to make a booking, and we are happy to answer any questions you have if you are just researching different providers.

Northern Frontiers mediation and counselling logo

Location

75 Digger St

Cairns North QLD 4870

Northern Frontiers Pty Ltd does not accept walk-ins, or individuals without prior bookings. Please contact prior to attending office.

Phone

+1300 90 81 70

Mobile: 0419 531 269 (text messaging available)

LiveChat: If you have any questions about our services and don't have time to ring or email, feel free to use the LiveChat function (bottom right of this page).

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Opening Hours

Mon-Fri: 7.30 am – 5:00 pm, by appointment only.  Face -to-face sessions available on Tuesdays and Fridays, phone and videochat (FaceTime, Skype, Zoom etc) available each weekday. Last-minute sessions are usually available for urgent matters.

Please note:  Northern Frontiers Mediation & Counselling Cairns provides private and confidential services.  To ensure client confidentiality all bookings are strictly by appointment only therefore we do not accept walk-ins or unannounced requests for service, including for new enquiries.