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The FLMS Online Property Settlement Process

Property Settlement

How to resolve Property Settlement with ONLINE MEDIATION with Randal Binnie

You can resolve your property settlement through a completely online process with all information and communication taking place without needing to leave your home.

Our experienced family dispute resolution practitioner Randal Binnie, (also Nationally Accredited Mediator and Family Law Specialist) uses on online information gathering system to obtain all necessary financial information and documents necessary to allow both parties to the mediation to then meet online (Zoom) and work towards resolution of the distribution of assets and other issues following separation.

Benefits of Resolving Property Issues Online

  • Information is gathered remotely, limiting stress and time spent
  • The parties don’t have to consult anyone to provide the required information (except the mediator at times)
  • The Mediator works with both parties together and separately in the negotiation process
  • Both parties will be able to see the impact of the proposals they put forward in conference with the mediator
  • Any agreement can be signed remotely
  • In appropriate circumstances Consent Orders and/or financial agreements can be drafted (the latter will require independent lawyers to provide advice.

The Process Steps

  1. First, intake sessions by Zoom/telephone with each of the parties.
  2. Second, if mediation is agreed to proceed, mediation agreements are signed electronically.
  3. Third, information is gathered at your own pace by completion of an online information gathering process.
  4. Once information is gathered mediation sessions can be commenced.  Upon finalisation the outcome can be documented by a heads of agreement document or by consent orders or a financial agreement.  You may or may not need lawyers to document your agreement.

The process is conducted with or without your lawyers involvement but you will need to have legal advice before the mediation process and at other points in time.  The benefit of the mediation process without the engagement of your lawyers in the process is that the costs of the mediation will be greatly reduced.  Where the parties wish to engage their lawyers in the FLMS Online Property Settlement Process they can be involved from the beginning, assisting the mediatior to gather information and documents required to assist you in finalising your property settlement

Resolution may be achieved within weeks rather than months or years through litigation/court processes.  Flexible to suit your needs with meetings varying from a number of meetings of say two hours or more or over a single day.

DON’T GO TO COURT  –  MEDIATE

​A short video explaining the process will be posted here soon.  In the meantime make an enquiry and start your journey to a respectful resolution of your property matters.

What is Mediation?

There are plenty of misconceptions about the process and what a mediator actually does and I hope that I can clarify the process in readiness for you attending your own mediation.

Mediation involves a mediator who has been trained to stay neutral and help the participants make their own decisions. The mediator is in charge of the process and the participants are in charge of putting forward proposals and making decisions about the issues they want to resolve.

The Role of the Mediator

The mediator’s job is guiding the process by

  • Providing some general information.
  • Helping you listen to each other.
  • Helping you focus on one issue at a time.
  • Asking each of you questions for understanding.
  • Some mediators ask a lot about the past, while others focus mostly on the future (you can ask your mediator what to expect).  I tend to focus on the future to help focus on getting an agreement/outcome. We can’t change the past but we can shape a better future
  • Encouraging each of you to make proposals.
  • Helping you understand each other’s proposals.
  • Helping you respond to proposals and helping you turn them into decisions for the future.

The Role of the Parties

You and the other person in the mediation process are often referred to as “the parties” in mediation. The two of you have the job of making decisions:

  • Deciding what issues you will discuss – your agenda.

You can raise any issue, but the other person needs to agree before it becomes an agenda topic for discussion.

  • Deciding what proposals or options you want to make.

You can propose anything, and the other person can say “Yes” “No” or “I’ll think about it” to your proposals, and make other proposals.

  • Calmly explaining your proposals.

In terms that will help the other person understand, as much as possible. Try to emphasize what you want to see in the future, rather than focusing a lot on past problems.

  • Calmly asking questions about the other party’s proposals.

It helps to ask him or her to describe Who would do What, When and Where. Asking for their picture of how the proposal would work can help you both understand it better.

  • Making your final decisions. 

I will always have these decisions typed so that each party understands the agreement they have reached.  In parenting matters that will become a parenting plan and may become court orders if both parties agree to lodge in the Family Court.

What Mediation Is Not

Mediation is not like court. In court, the judge makes the decisions. In mediation, the mediator does not make the decisions – the parties do.

The following are important principles of the mediation process:

  • The mediator does not pressure you to make decisions. 

Mediation is voluntary. Even if you are required to attend by a court order, it is up to you to decide if you make any agreements.

  • The mediator does not give you legal advice.

However, as I am an accredited family law specialist I can provide you with legal information (not advice).

  • The mediator does not take sides.

The mediator does not make decisions so even though people may try to persuade the mediator to take sides there is little point to that. Remember it is important that the mediator stays neutral and to guides the process, not the decisions.

  • The mediator is confidential.

This means that the mediator will not tell other people what each of you said in the mediation sessions.  If no decisions are made, the mediator may issue a certificate under Section 60I of the Family Law Ac6 if the mediation concerns parenting arrangements.  That certificate has only one use, to start court proceedings.

  • The mediator does not decide what is fair. 

The parties are responsible for deciding what is fair, since fairness is a personal value judgement and there are many different agreements that both parties can believe are fair.

  • However, the mediator can stop the process, if he or she believes that it is no longer helpful for the parties.

There are times when the mediator might stop the process and withdraw from the mediation. Those circumstances can be because of issues of bias raised or matters that arise under legislation or National Accreditation Guidelines.  The mediator may not tell you why the mediation has been stopped.

Why mediate? - Agreed outcomes Timely outcomes Confidential Cost Saving Preserves relationships Mediate - Much to gain - Nothing to lose!

The 3 Steps Of Online Parenting Mediation

STEP 1

SCHEDULE THE FIRST APPOINTMENT FOR AN INTAKE SESSION. PERSONALLY, VIDEO CONFERENCE OR TELEPHONE.

STEP 2

AN INVITATION WILL BE SENT & IF ACCEPTED THE MEDIATION WILL BE ARRANGED.

STEP 3

A DATE AND TIME FOR MEDIATION WILL BE SET & INSTRUCTIONS SENT ON HOW TO PARTICIPATE.

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