Settling a dispute

Every relationship is different. As such, there are a number of different ways to settle family law matters such as divorce, separation, property, financial or parenting issues. In recent years there has been an increased focus on dispute resolution outside of the court room, whether that is through legally binding documents or alternative dispute resolution methods. There are also provisions in place for those couples that can agree on arrangements and settlements without legal help.

Compared to other family law matters, the process of divorce is a relatively simple. Our online divorce application provides a simple and straightforward way to apply for and finalise your divorce.

Please find more information on other ways to settle your family law matter:

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) offers a way for couples who don’t agree on issues such as parenting arrangements and property settlements to resolve these matters outside of the courtroom.

There are a number of different Alternative Dispute Resolution methods to choose from depending on how you would like your family law disputes to be resolved.


Mediation is a private meeting in which an independent, impartial mediator facilitates discussion and negotiation and helps two partners in a dispute reach an agreement. The mediator uses their skill to explore both sides of the issue and encourage them to reach a decision that is in the best interests of both parties. The mediator does not deliver an outcome or decision – this is decided upon by both parties. This agreement becomes legally binding when it is documented in a Consent Order or Financial Agreement.

Settlement Conference

Settlement Conferences bring together both parties, their legal representatives and any other relevant expert that can help resolve a family dispute. The frank and open discussion that Settlement Conferences encourage between all parties can be an effective way to reach agreements on complex issues such as parenting arrangements and property settlements.


Arbitration is an option for couples who need their dispute resolved by a neutral third party but want to keep their case private. The chosen arbitrator looks at both sides of the case and delivers an outcome that resolves the dispute. The couple is then legally bound to the decision delivered by the arbitrator.

Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law is an open four way discussion between both parties and their legal representation, designed to settle matters such as parenting arrangements and financial matters. Couples who choose collaborative law avoid the uncertainty of Court rulings, but if either partner is not happy with the outcome they cannot pursue further litigation with the same lawyer.

There are a number of benefits to Alternative Dispute Resolution. ADR methods save both parties time and money. By choosing ADR, you can avoid court fees and enjoy a swift resolution of family law disputes. ADR also gives both parties more control over the outcome of their dispute, and can help preserve tense family relationships. Many people also find comfort in the privacy and confidentiality of ADR meetings.

Court Representation

While it is always better to reach agreement on family law matters outside of the courtroom, this is not always possible. If your matter needs to go to Court, it’s important that you are confident in the ability of your lawyer, and their understanding of Courtroom procedures and rules. It is also important to feel that they are skilled in court appearances and are able to represent you and your best interests.

You should consider the financial costs involved when taking a matter to Court, because both Court, and family lawyer fees need to be accounted for in your budget.

If you’re looking for skilled court representation, Watts McCray family lawyers are experienced litigators and are able to represent you in various family law Courts on a wide range of family law matters.

Get in touch with Watts McCray today.

(02) 9283 5877

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