Mediation

Since 2004 I have been working at various times as a specialist family lawyer, specialist family law mediator, child-inclusive mediator,  and family therapist. I am a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP), and Nationally Accredited Mediator (NMAS).

I only mediate family law disputes.

I can issue Section 60I Certificates and Certificates of Dispute Resolution under the Family Law Act (1975) (Cth) as required by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

As a family therapist and child consultant, my child-inclusive mediation (CIM) services utilise my dual qualifications and experience in law and psychology.

I conduct mediations in person or by Zoom. I also conduct mediations both with and without lawyers. If a party is not legally represented at a mediation and agreement is reached, I prepare a written Heads of Agreement for that party to then seek legal advice about.

Prior to the mediation each party attends a separate 1-hour pre-mediation assessment / intake with me by phone or (preferably) Zoom.

I conduct a risk assessment to determine whether it is appropriate for me to conduct a mediation and help each party prepare for the mediation. My mediation practice is informed by an understanding of the nuances of power imbalance in relationships and affording safety in the context of domestic violence. This can include the use of shuttle mediations, where the parties remain in separate rooms throughout the entire process.

Each party is also entitled to a support person in addition to their lawyer (who remains in a separate room from the main conference room).

My philosophy is to tackle the most difficult issues first in the mediation process. This ensures they get allocated sufficient time to be explored deeply and means there is not a ‘pink elephant’ in the room not being addressed.

I help clients move away from taking positions as to what they want, and rather explore their underlying interests, needs and concerns. I then adopt a creative, child-focussed, and future-oriented approach.

I embrace the principles of neutrality, professionalism, and confidentiality. I have worked with hundreds of families over two decades to facilitate the best possible outcomes for those involved.

The potential issues addressed at a mediation include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • arrangements for the care of children (such as living arrangements and time spent with parents or other significant caregivers such as grandparents)
  • relocation of children
  • school enrolment
  • children’s names
  • medical issues relating to children
  • passports and overseas travel with children
  • interim financial matters
  • spousal maintenance
  • property settlement
  • child support
  • implementation of Court orders
  • contravention / breaches of Court orders
  • changes to Court orders.

The first thing you should do to prepare for mediation is ensure that you are emotionally and mentally prepared for the process. Discuss it with a trusted family member, friend, or professional such as a therapist. Be prepared to make concessions and compromises, as otherwise the mediation is almost guaranteed to fail. If you want to discuss schooling, it helps to come prepared with information about the relevant school/s (such as fees, curriculum, and extra-curricular activities) to provide the other party with. Similarly, if you want to discuss medical issues such as orthodontics relevant information such as fees and timeframes will be helpful. For financial matters, it is essential that all parties make full and frank disclosure of all significant assets (including superannuation), liabilities and financial resources (such as expected inheritances or compensation payouts) in their possession or control. For real estate, a real estate appraisal or formal valuation will likely be necessary.

As a family therapist and child consultant, I also offer child-inclusive mediation (CIM) services, drawing upon my dual qualifications and experience in both law and psychology. My CIM services are only provided in person. I do not conduct CMIs over Zoom as this could expose children to undue influence out of sight from the camera. I empower school-age children with a safe space to voice their lived experience. This can involve play and art therapy. I screen caregivers to safeguard against them using the children’s lived experience as a weapon against each other. I assess children for signs of trauma, attachment issues and third-party influence such as coaching or parental alienation. I reassure children that the dispute between their caregivers isn’t their fault, and encourage them to express their needs, concerns, and overall wishes. I discourage children from attempting to make decisions about their relationships with significant caregivers, such as who they live with and how much time they spend with them. To address the potential conflict of interest of me acting as both a mediator and child consultant / family therapist, I only disclose children’s wishes when they expressly ask me to do so. This process is non-reportable and cannot be used in Court proceedings.

A CIM has two parts. Part 1 involves me spending time with the children and their significant caregivers (usually parents). Part 2 involves mediating the issues in dispute between the parties with the agenda items being informed by the children’s lived experience.

I spend the morning of the CIM with significant caregivers (usually parents) and children either at my mediation and therapy rooms in Palm Beach on the Gold Coast or at a park or shopping centre near the CIM venue. I also observe how caregivers interact with the children. Caregivers can observe my interactions with the children from a safe distance but not within earshot, to afford children the benefit of both safety and privacy. After meeting with the children for 1-2 hours, I then debrief with the caregivers. Additional issues are sometimes raised during the debrief, which may necessitate me spending further time with the children during the morning session. The afternoon session can also occur at my rooms if lawyers are not attending. If there are numerous children involved or particularly complicated issues to consider, I may run the CIM over two days. Under these circumstances, Part 1 would occur on the first day and Part 2 would occur on the second day.

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My Qualifications

> Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy
> Master of Laws
> Bachelor of Behavioural Science
> Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours)
> Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing)
> Graduate Certificate in Gestalt Therapy

Registrations & Memberships