Resolving disputes: financial matters
It is far preferable for parties to resolve financial disputes involving property and financial support issues without seeking the intervention of the court processes in what will promise to become a series of lengthy and protracted legal proceedings. Considering the emotional and financial demands of litigation there are no clear winners in the court arena.
Lawyers and trained mediators can assist in negotiation. Quite often all or at least some of the problems can result in issues being narrowed down or even finalised so that an acceptable outcome is achieved. The clear advantage for all concerned is the ability to avoid unnecessary legal fees.
There are many opportunities offered along the way to attempt such processes.
Before filing applications in court
Unless the parties have reached a solution to the financial issues there is a requirement that they genuinely attempt to resolve the dispute. Such action may include attendance at a dispute resolution service or communication privately or via lawyers setting out the individual claims of the parties. Each party is obliged to provide full and frank disclosure as to their financial affairs such as taxation returns, pay slips, company documents, trust deeds and information as to superannuation entitlements.
During the court process
If the dispute cannot be resolved and one party files an application seeking orders for financial matters then the parties now become locked into a strict regime that requires adherence to various rules. For example the court will make an order that the parties attend a mediation process called a conciliation conference. Each of the parties attends with a judicial officer who will conduct the conference. The parties, if legally represented, will also have present their solicitors or barristers.
Prior to the conciliation conference each party undertakes further preparation such as is required to ascertain the values of the assets that are relevant to the parties.
Many of the actions filed in court are resolved with the assistance of the conciliation conference. Alternatively the issues are carefully discussed and narrowed. This process in fact may lead to further negotiations between the parties following the conference and ultimately pave the way to a settlement.