Family law proceedings can be confusing and confronting. They can also be very time-consuming and expensive. This is why it is important to understand the steps involved and the different options available including conciliation conferences and arbitration and why would you may choose one over the other.

A conciliation conference is simply a pre-hearing mediation session. Conciliation conferences offer a valuable and informal opportunity for both parties to attempt to reach an agreement on issues arising out of the breakdown of your relationship. The Registrar conducting the conference will not make any findings or determinations. A conciliation conference will only result in finalising your matter if the parties reach agreement. Reaching agreement will likely require compromises from both parties but could ultimately help the parties avoid court proceedings further down the line.

Alternatively, arbitration involves both parties presenting arguments and submitting evidence around the issues in order to assist an Arbitrator to make a determination.

So why would I choose one over the other?

In conciliation conference the Registrar can assist in directing discussions, considering both sides and can help explore options to settle your case.  This can result in agreements that are more personalised and tailored to your situation.  If you reach an agreement the Registrar can make legally binding orders and there is no need for further court events.

Alternatively, an arbitrator can make the decision for the parties, allowing the parties to obtain an impartial decision sooner than may be available from a Court, saving further legal costs.

It is important to understand the difference so you can discuss with your solicitor which may be the better option for your situation.The Burke Mead Lawyers Family Law Team are happy to answer any Family Law questions you may have. They can be contacted by phoning the office on 49 023 800 or via email at office@burkemeadlawyers.com.au