Dispute Resolution at LifeWorks
LifeWorks offers Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) services (such as mediation) for couples affected by separation or divorce to resolve relationship disputes involving children, property and finances.
LifeWorks FDR services can be used as a means to separate property, resolve financial arrangements and develop ongoing parenting plans.
LifeWorks' practitioners work with the couple in a neutral, impartial and non-judgemental way to identify the issues, consider options and make arrangements without having to resort to expensive, time consuming and daunting legal action.
LifeWorks also offers workplace dispute resolution services. LifeWorks in the Workplace Consultants provide a range of tailored consulting, mediation and assessment strategies to manage conflict and promote an environment in which people work together more effectively.
How does Family Dispute Resolution work?
Family Dispute Resolution is a co-operative dispute resolution process involving several distinct stages.
1. Initial Contact.
Contact LifeWorks during office hours to find out more about the Family Dispute Resolution services, discuss a specific situation with one of LifeWorks’ FDR Practitioners or make an appointment for an intake interview.
2. Intake interview.
An intake interview is conducted with a LifeWorks' FDR practitioner. During this interview an assessment will be made as to whether Family Dispute Resolution is suitable for your situation.
During the intake interview the FDR practitioner will:
- listen to your story.
- provide detailed information on the FDR process.
- help decide whether mediation will be helpful in this situation.
- explore any matters such as violence, abuse, drug or alcohol use, which could make mediation unsafe, unfair or unsuitable.
- clarify any concerns or questions.
- suggest appropriate referrals for legal advice, counselling, income support or other sources of assistance such as the Child Support Agency or Centrelink.
Following the initial intake interview, your former partner and/or other parties will also be invited to attend an intake interview if appropriate. A joint session can then be booked if mediation is deemed safe and appropriate.
3. FDR Sessions.
Sessions typically run for two to three hours and are conducted in a private room. Sometimes, LifeWorks offers "shuttle mediation", which means each party is provided with a separate room and the mediators goes between the two rooms to conduct the mediation. Sometimes this offers comfort to the parties and they feel they can better negotiate outcomes without having to deal more immediately with their ex-partner. A break can be called at any time during the session. At the end of the session, each party is provided with a summary, highlighting important points discussed and any agreements reached.
4. The First FDR Session.
At the first session:
- The FDR Practitioner will explain the process and establish the rules of the session.
- Each party has the opportunity to outline their own view of the dispute without any interruptions.
- The practitioner helps break down the dispute into manageable issues, develop an agreed agenda and a plan of action for how to go about tackling each of the issues.
- When financial issues are involved, preparation of a joint financial statement and other data collection is commenced.
Subsequent FDR Sessions. In some situations issues are resolved within one mediation session, however in most cases the process can take two or three sessions, sometimes more. During the sessions, the FDR practitioner will help each party communicate directly on each issue, examine a range of possible solutions and work towards an agreement which takes into account everyone's needs and concerns.
Private Sessions. At any stage of the process, parties may ask to speak individually (and confidentially) with the practitioner. The practitioner may also choose to call a private session if the discussions are stalling.
Agreements. Agreements reached during the FDR process are not legally binding. However, they can form the basis for legal agreements and can usually be easily converted into enforceable Court registered agreements or Consent Orders.
Confidentiality. All discussions that take place within the FDR session or privately with a LifeWorks FDR practitioner are confidential and cannot be used as evidence in Court – except in certain circumstances such as child abuse or to prevent a threat to someone’s life.
LifeWorks' FDR Practitioners. LifeWorks’ Mediators and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners are professionally qualified and are accredited with the Federal Attorney-General's Department under provisions of the Family Law Act 1975. LifeWorks' practitioners are required to be qualified in Law, Psychology, Social Work or a Social Science and to have undertaken specialist training in dispute resolution and have supervised experience in the conduct of mediation sessions. They also have to meet legal requirements covering client confidentiality and professional conduct and meet LifeWorks' own stringent ethical standards.
Legal Representation. LifeWorks recommends that each party obtain independent legal advice throughout the FDR process.
For more information on LifeWorks' dispute resolution services, read through our FDR Frequently Asked Questions or click here for contact details to make a booking at your closest LifeWorks branch.