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Family Law – Conciliation Conference and Procedure

Conciliation Conference and Procedure

A Conciliation Conference is an avenue for parties in dispute to achieve a mutual agreement. The Court encourages parties to make an honest effort to reach an agreement. This will not only save time and money, but it also has the potential of avoiding irreparable damage to the parties’ relationship.

The Conciliation Conference is supervised by an independent and partial Conciliator. The Conciliator will evaluate the case, assist the parties in identifying the issues in dispute and explore options for settling the parties’ dispute, before any legal actions can take place.

A conciliation conference consists of three stages:

Introduction

The introduction stage involves the Conciliator explaining to both parties and/or legal representative what will take place during the Conciliation Conference.

The process may include separate interviews or a private discussion with one party and/or their legal representative at any time during the conference.

Settlement Discussion

At this stage, the Conciliator will assist both parties in discussing ways to obtain a mutual settlement of their dispute. In doing so, the Conciliator may converse with each party separately.

Conclusion

At this stage, the Conciliator will conclude what took place during the Conciliation Conference. The Conciliator will emphasise on the settlement that both parties had agreed on. If both parties were able to achieve a mutual agreement, their respective lawyer can now prepare a Terms of Settlement for both parties to sign, which the Court will then make into Consent Orders.

In the event that the Conciliation process is unsuccessful, Court proceedings can then be commenced. It is important that all relevant and necessary financial related documents are filed and handed to the Court, together with the application. Any misinformation or lack of submitted documents may delay settlement of the matter, and thus more expense for both parties.

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