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How to Resolve a Family Conflict Without Going to Court

11 March 2022 | 0 comments | Posted by Alison Pearson in Get Court

Resolving family conflict without court

If you've been having disputes with your immediate or extended family and these arguments are starting to boil over, it may be time to look at some mediation tactics. We all know that when it comes to family, money and property, lines can quickly blur and if you don't set up boundaries for constructive discussions, they can unravel and become unproductive or, worse, become costly as it turns into a legal battle.

If you're in this situation or feel like it could end up rolling down this path, then here are a few ground rules you can use to try and avoid a lengthy legal argument to get things resolved.


Negotiation is a direct discussion involving different parties to reach an agreement. Negotiations should be your first attempt at resolving a family conflict. You can have the negotiation anywhere, in the house, at a lawyer's office, or in a neutral area.

It is advised for all parties involved to first talk to their lawyers to know exactly where they stand and what their rights are in the given situation. It's often thought that you don't need legal advice if you aren't going to court; it is certainly not the case since adequate legal advice will get you a long way in any kind of dispute, big or small.

Different countries have different legal procedures, so the assistance you can hypothetically get can vary from country to country (and even state to state). Courts can provide services in some disputes without making either party go directly to court. Without involving the court, you can seek the services of mediators collaborative practitioners.

Family dispute resolutions

Family Dispute Resolution is a specific type of mediation that helps families go through separation as painlessly as possible. It is unique to Australia and is required by law for families to undergo Family Dispute Resolution before going to a family law court.

The program serves as a means of going through different possible ways of resolving family disputes and reaching a solution, and arranging acceptable parenting arrangements for the parties involved. Using this type of mediation is the cheapest available professional help that one can get. Several factors might make exemptions from going through a Family Dispute Resolution.

Those are:

  • If the dispute needs to be settled urgently
  • One of the parties is not able to fully participate (for example, geographic obstacles)
  • If child abuse or domestic violence has a role to play in the dispute
  • If one of the parties involved has been deemed unfit to carry out the steps required by the Family Dispute Resolution
  • When an agreement has been made through consent orders

Involve a mediator

A mediator is a trained law practitioner whose job is to resolve disputes impartially. They help the parties reach an agreement in child support, child custody, property ownership, etc. The parties involved all make their case to the mediator, they explain their stances and issues, and the mediator goes from there.

To get a court-assigned mediator, you need to contact the family disputes branch of your local governance body. Don't forget that, in most cases, you will need a court application to get the services of a mediation lawyer. If you want to skip court involvement completely, you can always hire a private mediator.

The pricing of dispute-related services

The costs of mediation can vary significantly. Private mediators will, of course, charge by a more expensive hourly rate (although how much more expensive also varies from firm to firm). Meanwhile, institutions that offer family dispute resolutions have different approaches. They offer services to people of all economic classes.

They will, on average, provide services for free for the first hour of any family dispute. Clients who earn more than $50,000 will then be charged $30 per hour (keep in mind that the prices and exact benchmarks for privileges vary from institution to institution). Families that make less than said amount or are on the welfare program will receive the second and third hour free of charge as well.

If you are unsure about your exact financial standings, it is better to have an accountant clear up any misconceptions. The institution involved will most likely charge extra if the dispute goes beyond 3 hours. Independent service providers have different hourly rates.

If you do seek the services of a family dispute practitioner via your local institution, you need to tell them of your financial standing to get better pricing.

Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution is primarily used to resolve disputes outside of the court. It can be as formal or informal as the parties involved are comfortable with. Alternative Dispute Resolutions are, unlike Family Dispute Resolutions, completely voluntary.

They offer both parties the freedom of privacy and the power to decide things outside the courthouse. The parties involved meet with a mediator, and once a solution is made, the process is finished with the mediator solidifying the formal agreement. Once this is done, both parties can have attorneys analyze the agreement and, if they agree, make it legally binding.

In some cases, it isn't out of the ordinary to see several mediators involved. It happens when mediators of different professions are needed. So, you would have two mediators if one is needed for family law and the other for financial law. For more complex situations, even a team of specialists could be required.

About the author

Alison Pearson is an interior design student. She is a writer and designer, and her ultimate passion is art and architecture. She is also a bibliophile, and her favourite book is "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner. Follow her on Twitter.

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on the legal system.

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