Arbitration in Family Law Matters: What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a relatively new concept in family law. While arbitration has been available to parties for some time, the take up of arbitration in family law matters has been slow.

Couples who are separating or divorcing and are in a property dispute can have their matter resolved by an arbitrator. An arbitrator is a usually a qualified barrister who is charged with the role of determining your case. This method is used to arrive at a quicker and more efficient outcome. It is another avenue available to separating couples to help them reach agreement rather than having the case heard in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

In some family law property settlement matters, it may take up to 18 months to have a trial in either of these courts. Even when your court date is set, it can be adjourned to a later date if other prior or more urgent cases require the court’s attention on that day. This leads not only to the emotional stress of having the finalisation of your matter delayed, but it can also increase the costs.

Arbitration for family law gives you an opportunity to also choose who hears your case. An arbitration can be organised and run and provide you with a decision within 4 months. This can save time and costs and is a more flexible option available to you.

Family law arbitration can resolve disputes on how to divide your assets faster so that you can move on with your life with financial certainty. Our family law team is well equipped in dealing with arbitration and will be happy to discuss the process with you further.


How long does arbitration take?
Is arbitration legally binding?
How do I choose an arbitrator?

How long does Arbitration take?

From start to finish, an arbitration can occur within two to four months. Arbitration in family law matters can give you more flexibility and a speedier solution compared to going to court.

Is arbitration legally binding?

Yes. After the family law arbitration is concluded, the arbitrator will make an award and give reasons for how they reached their decision. Once this has occurred, there are obligations for registering the award with the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court and a judge will then register it, making it binding.

How do I choose an arbitrator?

A family lawyer will be able to assist you in choosing an arbitrator for your case. Family law arbitrators need to be qualified with AIFLAM (The Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators). This means that they are an experienced barrister who practices in family law and is qualified as an arbitrator.

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