Do I need to go to Mediation before going to Court in a Property Settlement Matter

Mediation before going to Court for a Property Settlement or Spousal Maintenance Order

Although it is usually considered preferable, currently under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) you do not have to participate in family dispute resolution before you start property settlement court proceedings.

The court does require the parties to have made a genuine effort to try to reach agreement before commencing court proceedings.

In almost every property settlement matter the Court will refer the parties to undertake some form of Dispute resolution.

Depending on the size of the property pool the Court will usually either:



  • refer the matter to a Conciliation Conference before a Registrar; or
  • require the parties to undertake a private Mediation.

Even if you have been to Mediation or a Family Dispute Resolution Conference before Court proceedings were started, a Court will still, after proceedings have been started, order you to try Mediation again.

It simply takes such a long time to go through the court process until getting a final hearing date, as well as using up resources which are limited and alreading struggling to keep up with the amount of work, that Judges will want the parties to try to sort the matter out themselves, or at least, at Mediation, if they can’t sort out the entirely of the issues in dispute, perhaps resolve some of them.


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