Alternative dispute resolution methods such as Mediation and Arbitration provide a cost and time efficient option for clients to have their dispute heard and possibly resolved. Arbitration is also growing in its use within family law as the Federal Circuit Court looks at ways to utilise the process in property matters.
What is Arbitration? Arbitration is a process whereby an independent Arbitrator makes a decision, after reviewing the evidence, hearing submissions from the parties and assessing the respective merits of the parties' cases. It is similar to the court process but much less formal. The Arbitrator is usually a solicitor or barrister, experienced in family law matters. The decision of the Arbitrator can be registered and then becomes enforceable, and only under specific circumstances can be reviewed by a court.
Towards the end of 2018 our firm appeared before Judge Harman in the Federal Circuit Court on behalf of the Applicant Husband in the matter of Pavic v Pavic . The matter had been referred to Arbitration under section 13E of the Family Law Act and an arbitral award (outcome) was delivered shortly thereafter.
The benefits of progressing the matter by way of Arbitration includes how time efficient the process is, particularly when comparing the current delays experienced with the Family Courts. For example, arrangements can be made for the Arbitration to occur within months of the initial enquiry and awards delivered approximately one to four weeks later, which is considerably less than the expected timeframe of approximately one to two years within the courts.
If you had the choice of resolving your matter in weeks instead of years, you can see why it makes sense to explore alternative options such as Arbitration.
If you and your former spouse are having difficulty coming to an agreement following separation, Arbitration may be an option rather than pursuing drawn out and costly litigation.
The best advice, contact our Family Law experts as soon as possible to discuss whether this is the best option for your individual situation. You can contact us on 1800 650 656 in Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon! We’re here to help!
Lauren Ryan | Family Law Solicitor