Arbitration in Family Law: What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a relatively new concept family law in Melbourne. While arbitration has been available to parties for some time, the take up of arbitration to resolve family law disputes 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 reach agreement rather than if the case was 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 as 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 gives you an opportunity to also choose who hears your case. An arbitration can often be organised, run and you can receive a decision within 4 months. This can save on time and cost 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 we are 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. This gives you flexibility and a speedier solution than would otherwise take if you went 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 choose an arbitrator for your case. Family Law Arbitrators need to be qualified with AIFLAM. This means that they are an experienced barrister who practices in family law and is qualified as an arbitrator.

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