Negotiation, Mediation & Agreements

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Reaching agreement on separation or divorce is stressful for both parties, whether it relates to property or parenting. In our experience, people feel empowered when they are able to avoid court and reach agreement as cordially as possible. Bryant McKinnon’s expert lawyers have a strong record of resolving most cases by negotiating various types of separation agreements.


Negotiation is often the first step toward resolving family law conflicts amicably. However, it can be undertaken at any stage of a family law matter, even during the court process.

The process may involve a number of forms of communication, including correspondence, meetings or discussions between lawyers or round table settlement conferences. In general the separating couple will not have to sit in the same room together, with negotiations conducted between the two lawyers. This is particularly desirable when there is a history of domestic violence or a significant power imbalance between the couple.


Mediation is an alternative approach to resolving disputes between separating couples. Both parties agree to appoint a qualified mediator, who is a neutral, family law professional. The mediator facilitates an open discussion to help parties to find their own solutions. Lawyers may or may not be involved in mediation sessions.

Unlike a judge, a mediator does not dictate outcomes. Agreements must be reached between both parties, ensuring that each retains control over the outcome of the matter.

Separation Agreements

There are a number of different types of agreements that can be entered into to resolve property and parenting issues on divorce or separation. These include:

Binding Financial Agreements
A Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) under the Family Law Act is a contract between you and your partner, setting out the terms of a financial separation. These agreements are legally binding under some circumstances. For more information see the Property Settlement section.

Consent Orders
A Consent Order needs to be brought to the Family Court, which will only make orders if they think that what you have agreed on is fair and reasonable to both parties. These agreements are legally binding. For more information see the Property Settlement section.

Parenting Plans
Parenting Plans are written agreements that record the agreed care arrangements for children, including where they will live, the allocation of parenting responsibilities, communication with children and a process for resolving disputes. These agreements are not legally binding. For more information see the Children’s Matters section.

Parenting Orders
A Parents Order is a parenting agreement that is legally formalized by an Application for Consent Orders filed with the Family Court. These agreements are legally binding until your children are 18 years of age. For more information see the Children’s Matters section.

Private Child Support Agreements
The federal Department of Human Services is usually responsible for determining the amount of child support to be provided. However, it is possible to enter into a private child support agreement, without having to go through the Department of Human Services. For more information see the Children’s Matters section.

How Bryant McKinnon Lawyers Can Help

Our experienced and specialised legal team can provide:

  • Negotiation of family law conflicts
  • Honest, forthright advice to position you to negotiate realistically
  • Access to expert mediators
  • Advice on the best type of agreement for your situation
  • Preparation of all legal agreements
  • Representation in Court if required

If you are seeking divorce or separation and would like advice or assistance from a lawyer to ensure the best financial outcome to secure your future, please contact us.

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