Recently, the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia wrote to the Family Court’s Rules Advisory Committee recommending a full review of the Court’s Scale of Costs. What this means is that the fees in Family Court are likely to rise in the near future making litigation in the courts in Australia even more expensive than it already is.

The cost of court is not only financial, there are also costs emotionally and relationally. Sometimes taking the problems you encounter in the separation process through the courts may be your only alternative but if there was a better option would you take it?

With the Family Dispute Resolution (‘FDR’) alternative already becoming a preferable choice for most couples, this imminent rise in litigation costs is just another one of the many reasons to consider mediation or FDR. The cost of going through Court is already crippling for some couples, affecting them and setting them back for many years. FDR or mediation is only a fraction of the cost of legal, court and trial fees on top of the personal costs.

Not only does mediation save on financial cost, it also won’t cost you as much time. Court can take many months, sometimes years to reach a decision about any given situation and more often than not, the decision reached is not satisfactory for either party involved. Mediation, however, is much faster taking only a matter of weeks, and any resolution is one both parties have mutually agreed on with an unbiased third party assisting, not a judge presiding.

Mediation is also more likely to preserve the relationship with your ex-partner which may be an ongoing one for many years, if children are involved. This is the case if you like it or not, so you may as well do what you can to keep it smooth. Court is more stressful due to the nature of proceedings with court protocol and formalities. Mediation promotes open, honest communication in a less formal setting where both parties can participate in a conversation to resolve any differences in opinion and encourages a healthy decision-making process for future disputes. Choosing mediation over Court can also be less stressful for any children involved.

There are already so many costs involved in the divorce and separation, including financial, emotional and relationship costs. Reducing these is a smart choice for all but especially for the couple involved.

Mediation is a smart choice as it assists couples in all of these areas and can go a long way toward helping the family move on with their life in a positive and more healthy way.