Only 1 in 10 Get To Court.
And it takes them 2 years to get there.
Only 1 in 10 separating couples actually see the inside of a courtroom according the Family Court of Western Australia’s latest annual report. The report found that 9 out of 10 divorcing couples settle before reaching a courtroom, but that settlement still takes an average of 52 weeks for parenting disputes and 40 weeks for financial disputes.
The snapshot of Family Court functions for 2019 found an increase in time to trial of 11% for financial disputes – to 94 weeks – and an increase of 2% – to 102 weeks – for parenting disputes. That meant an overall 4% increase in time to trial, up to 101 weeks.
In good news for divorcing couples the court has had an increase in its clearance rate of 7% up to 104%.
With only 1 in 10 couples actually seeing the inside of a court room the figures suggest that an opportunity for early mediation or negotiation could provide significant benefits for divorcing couples.
Susan Hewitt, a collaborative lawyer and FDRP mediator in Subiaco, sees many of these couples “If you look behind the figures what we are seeing is that only 1 in 10 people actually need to go to court. What these figures are showing us is that 9 in 10 separating couples can negotiate their separation without needing that day in a courtroom.”
Susan goes on to say “What is not shown in the figures however is the emotional toll the court process takes on the other 9 in 10. 47 weeks of stress, arguing and appointments with lawyers could be avoided if people are given the chance to mediate or negotiate early in the process.”
“9 in 10 of those people are settling their dispute anyway so why not do it from the start and avoid the 47 weeks.”
We have included a link to the Family Court of WA’s annual report below.
For help with your separation or parenting issues call BrightSide
Susan Hewitt is the Principal at Bright Side Family Law, a non-litigious family law and mediation practice. Susan has worked as a lawyer and journalist for almost 30 years. She is an accredited collaborative lawyer and family-law mediator who is committed to helping families through their relationship breakdown in an honest, cooperative and respectful manner.
If you are facing a family law matter call or email Bright Side https://brightsidefamilylaw.com.au/contact-us/