Do Both Parents Have to Pay for Mediation?Nick Richards FDRP LL.B MBA GDLP DMgmt MQLS
You have been contacted by a Mediator inviting you to Mediation
It’s important that you understand the costs aspect of mediation.
What is the Cost?
The cost of family mediation in Australia is generally split into stages which is payable as the parties progress through the process. The cost of a formal consultation with a mediator is between $200 – $450 (Step One).The cost of a 6-hour mediation conference with a registered family mediator is between $1,000 – $2,500 per party (Step Two)
The cost of the drafting of the written mediation agreements is between $220 – $500 per party (Step 3).
Do both parties have to pay for the mediation costs?
In Australia, both parties must make a genuine attempt to resolve their dispute outside the court system. The law states that where a party refuses to attend or fails to attend the family dispute resolution (FDR) process they can be held liable for the other parties costs and the court may then order them back to mediation.
Where a party refuses or fails to attend, and the other party makes an application to the court and the court orders their costs against you it is more likely than not that their legal costs will exceed the costs of mediation, in some instances up to 6 times the cost of mediation. You may then be ordered back to mediation where you will be then liable to pay the costs of the mediation.
In some cases, a party may be unable to pay the costs of mediation and the initiating party may pay some or all of the costs of the mediation. This is something that should be discussed with the mediator so each parties have a clear understanding of the process.
Other costs associated with the mediation
Some other common costs could include:
- mediators hourly rate on correspondence outside the formal consultation and mediation conference.
- engagement of a second mediator.
- engagement of a child consultant/psychologist for child assessments.
- mediators hourly rate on agreed changes to mediation agreements.
- review of documents such as violence and court orders.
- attendance of legal representatives at the mediation conference.
The costs of mediation far outweigh the costs of court for a few reasons:
- mediation is quicker.
- mediation outcome is controlled by the parties.
- mediation does not have application fees.
- mediation costs are generally shared between the parties
Mediation is a cost-effective way for parties to work together to resolve disputes in a confidential setting. The cost of an average family parenting dispute is likely to cost between $60,000 to $100,000 per party whereas the cost of an average mediation process is between $1,000 to $2,000 per party.
NOTICE: The above is not legal advice and it is recommended that you obtain tailored legal advice related to your own personal circumstances from an Australian legal practitioner.