After twelve years of seeing couples feuding mid-divorce in the Australian family court system and forking out tens of thousands of dollars, Gold Coast lawyer Marie Fedorov has had enough.
Nearly 1.5 million Australian’s aged between 25-64 years are currently separated or divorced. Courts are backlogged, with the average time between separation and divorce around three and a half years and the average divorce settled in court costing up to $40,000.
Fedorov said while divorce is always the last option, her motto is ‘life is too short; get a divorce.’ She’s devised a program, Family Mediation Station, which promises a one-day mediation that saves couples time, money and the emotional trauma of appearing in court.
“So many separated couples endure incredible delays when trying to resolve family law issues. People get stuck in lengthy waiting lists with government-funded mediation centres for months before being able to even get started with negotiations. Others are stuck in a lawyer letter writing legal battle, or worse, in the litigation process,” Fedorov said.
“The separated couple attend mediation with one of our nationally accredited mediators in the morning and then, once an agreement is reached, we then draft the documents necessary to formalise the agreement that afternoon. They walk away with their parenting and property matters finalised and formalised in just one day.”
The US is many years ahead of Australia, offering alternative resolution services such as ‘Divorce Hotel’ and ‘Divorce in a Day’ which claim to be the way of the future.
“This saves the tax payer as the Courts and Government funded mediation centres will be used by people who actually need them and want to be there – it will save the average Australian going through the divorce process from spending tens of thousands of dollars with lawyers and it will give separated couples their freedom back.
Around 97,000 Australians divorce each year; costing the nation up to $14 billion in 2014, up from $12 billion in 2012 in government assistance payments and court costs.
Fedorov believes her program will help ease the burden of divorce for Australians and their families and get the nation in line with measures that are currently working in the UK and US.
The entire process of costs in ‘Divorce in a Day’ start at $1350 each for mediation. Then, the couple is provided with a fixed fee quote to formalise the agreement reached (that cost depends on the complexity of the agreement.)
“People would be looking at $3000 to finalise and formalise their agreement in just one day, which is significantly less than the average cost of the conventional legal process,” Fedorov said.
“You can be involved in resolving your own parenting and property issues, can express your views, concerns and needs. You will also know what it will cost you as we offer a fixed fee service and you will know how long it will take – one day,” Fedorov said.
Family Mediation Station can service any couple, anywhere in Australia.