What to expect from mediation

Whether you’re looking for help to resolve a family matter or need to attend Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) prior to applying to the court for parenting orders, MEDE8 Resolutions can guide you through the process every step of the way through our Gold Coast Affordable Mediation service. While the decision to seek mediation is a positive step for many people, it can also be unfamiliar and overwhelming. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to explain the process for you. If we’ve missed something, please get in touch.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process where people in conflict (the parties) engage with a neutral third party (a mediator) to try to resolve a dispute. Mediators are specially trained to help people find common ground and creatively explore different options to come to their own mutually-acceptable resolution. Mediation can help resolve disputes more quickly and without the legal costs and associated stress of taking the matter to court. Mediation is voluntary. To be successful, people should attend with an open mind, a willingness to listen and participate fully in the process.


Who attends mediation?

Sessions are attended by the people in dispute and the mediator. If you wish your legal advisor to attend please discuss this with your Mediator.  Support people may attend with the consent of the mediator and the other party.


What is Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)?

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a specialised form of mediation.  An FDR Practitioner is a mediator who has undertaken intensive training to engage in FDR.  It requires specialist knowledge of the Family Law Act and skills in relation to family law matters, including deep understanding of issues relevant to family separation and divorce, such as the impact of domestic and family violence, relational power dynamics and the effect family conflict has on children.  For a practitioner to offer FDR they must be accredited with the Attorney-General's Department.


Who attends FDR? 

Generally, only the parents will attend FDR. If you would like a support person to attend, please discuss this with your mediator.


What is child inclusive mediation (CIM)?

Child Inclusive Mediation (CIM) is a specialised form of mediation where children are interviewed by a Child Consultant prior to FDR taking place.  The children are interviewed separately from the parents and this assists the Child Consultant to understand the children's experience of the separation and how they are coping.  CIM is not appropriate for everyone.  Parents are assessed at intake to determine whether CIM is appropriate for their circumstances.  If CIM is deemed appropriate both parents and the child or children will need to consent to this process before it can take place. Children under the age of five are not included in CIM unless there is an older sibling.  The children do not make any decisions on what goes into a parenting plan - that is for the adults to work out.

CIM gives older school-aged children and adolescents a voice in situations of family conflict. CIM encourages the safe and indirect involvement of a child's voice in the mediation process.  It is made clear to the child that they are 'the boss' of the session.  The children can share as much or as little as they wish with the Child Consultant. The Child Consultant will confirm with the children what information they can share with the child's parents.

The purpose is to support both parents/carers to resolve their disputes, while keeping their child's needs and interests as their key priority.  Parents do need to be emotionally mature enough to hear what their children have to say, without confronting or challenging the children.


Who attends cim

The FDR practitioner, the Child Consultant and both parents attend the mediation session after the children have been interviewed by the Child Consultant.  The Child Consultant will share feedback with the parents through a 'developmentally focused lens' and discuss how the children are experiencing the separation.  The Child Consultant will confirm with the children what information they have 'permission' to share with the parents.  


What if I don’t feel safe?

If you don’t feel safe, please discuss this with your mediator. We can offer a service where you will not need to be in the same room as the other party.


Will my children need to attend FDR?

Children do not attend FDR. The process is designed to assist parents working through a range of issues, currently in dispute, as a result of separation or divorce.  Depending on your circumstances and a range of factors such as the age and maturity of your child/ren, a specially trained family counsellor or child psychologist may talk separately and confidentially with your child/ren as part of the mediation process.  This will only happen with parental consent.  This is known as a 'Child-Inclusive Mediation'.  With the consent of the child/ren the child counsellor or psychologist will provide the child's views back to the parents during the mediation.  This allows for the child/ren's voice to be heard in the mediation.  Please feel free to ask us about this process if you would like further information regarding the Child-Inclusive process.


Are all cases suitable for mediation?

Not all cases are suitable for mediation and FDR. Prior to any mediation, the parties will be required to attend a pre-mediation conference to determine whether mediation or FDR is the right pathway. This usually takes between 60 to 90 minutes.


How long does mediation take?

We offer various mediation packages to suit your requirements.  Depending upon your individual needs, the nature of the issues in dispute and the complexity of the matter you may choose to invest in a range of mediation packages. As a guide, we have outlined a range of costs based on a 3-hour mediation on the opposite side of this page.  This can be discussed with you in more detail when you contact our service.


How much does it cost?

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Mediations/Property Mediation

Pre-Mediation Intake and Safety Screening: $275 per person.

Approximately 60-90 minutes and includes the 'Our Family In Two Homes' Resource Package.

Invitation to other party to attend FDR: $150 includes multiple phone calls to other parent to answer any questions and explain the process and up to 2 written invitations to attend family mediation.

4-Hour Mediation:  $1,400 ($700 per parent). Includes up to 4 hours of mediation; drafting of Parenting Plan, Heads of Agreement or mediation agreement.

*4-Hour Co-Mediation:  $1,800 ($900 per parent).  Up to 4 hours of mediation with an experienced and qualified female FDRP and experienced and qualified male NMAS mediator.  This is an excellelnt way to mediate where parents wish to have a gender balance in the mediation room or where the issues in dispute are complex. The drafting of a Parenting Plan, Heads of Agreement or mediation agreement is also included.

Issue of s60(I) Certificate:  $150.

On-Line Mediation:  Available on Zoom at the above rates.

Child Inclusive Mediation: Please discuss this option with your FDRP.  The Child Consultant will have their own fee structure and payment is made directly to the Child Consultant.

Telephone Mediation:  Available at the above rates.

Room Hire and Travel:  At cost, typically in the order of $150 - $250 per person.


General Mediations

  • Neighbourhood disputes including fencing, retainer walls and overhanging tree branches;
  • Outstanding Debt issues.

Pre-Mediation Intake: (60-90 mintues) - $200 per person.

Invitation to other party to attend Mediation: $150 - includes multiple phone calls to other party to answer any questions they may have and explain the mediation process.  Up to two written invitations to attend mediation.

4-Hour Mediation: $1,400 ($700 per party).  Includes up to 4 hours of mediation, including the drafting of mediation agreement.

*4-Hour Co-Mediation: $1,800 ($900.00 per person).  Includes up to 4 hours of mediation with two experienced and qualified NMAS Mediators.

On-Line Mediation: Available on Zoom at the above rates.

Telephone Mediation:  Available at the above rates.

Room Hire and Travel: At cost, typically in the order of $150 - $250 per person.

All services are to be paid in advance of the service delivery and at least 5 clear business days prior to the agreed date for the mediation to secure the booking.

Should the mediation be cancelled or postponed by the parties (or either of them) within 3 business days of the agreed date for the mediation a cancellation fee of $400.00 will apply.

* Two mediators (one experienced and qualified female NMAS Mediator and FDRP and one experienced and qualified male NMAS Mediator) will facilitate the mediation process.  This model is excellent where there is a preference for a gender balance in the mediation room or the issues in dispute are complex.  The two experienced mediators bring a wealth of experience and a combined skill-set into the mediation room.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions on mediation pricing.


Who pays for mediation and the associated costs?

The cost of mediation and FDR is shared between the parties and paid in advance. We invoice each party separately. Our Gold Coast Affordable Mediation service is based on the belief that every family should be able to access the services of an accredited, skilled mediator to help work through difficult times.  


What is a 60I Certificate?

Section 60I of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (FLA) requires attendance at FDR prior to applying to the court for a parenting order. 

The issue of a s60I certificate is confirmation to the court that FDR has been attempted. The certificate is attached to an application made to the court for parenting orders, unless an exception applies.

Section 60I(8) sets out the kinds of certificates an FDRP may give to a person. These include:

  1. the peson did not attend FDR with the practitioner and the other party but the person's failure to do so was due to the refusal, or the failure, of the other party to the proceedings to attend;
  2. the person did not attend FDR with the practitioner and the other party to the proceedings because the practitioner considers, having regard to the matters prescribed by the regulations, that it would not be appropriate to conduct the proposed family dispute resoluton;
  3. the person attended FDR with the practitioner and the other party and all attendees made a genuine effort to resolve the issue/s;
  4. the person attended FDR with the practitioenr and the other party but that the person, the other party or another of the parties did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issue/s; and
  5. the person began attending FDR with the practitioner and the other party but that the practitioner considers, having regard to the matters prescribed by the regulations that it would not be appropriate to continue the FDR process.

Only an accredited FDRP can issue a s60I certificate.  Importantly, s60I certificates are valid for 12 months from the date of last attendance (or attempt) at FDR and cannot be issued after that time.


Where are the MEdiation sessions held?

Mediations are held at various locations across the Gold Coast and Brisbane CBD.  Sessions can also be held on-line via ZOOM or by telephone.