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ERA for Family Law matters

Note: All early intervention mediation for family law disputes is administered as an Early Resolution Assistance (ERA) service type and facilitated by the Legal Aid NSW Family Dispute Resolution Unit.

Legal Aid NSW is a “family dispute resolution practitioner” as defined under s10G(1)(b) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

1 ERA for early intervention mediation

2 Commonwealth Property Mediation Pilot

3 Prefiling Adoption Mediation

1. Early intervention mediation

ERA for early intervention mediation is available for the following matters:

  • parenting
  • property settlement
  • spousal maintenance, and
  • adult child maintenance.

1.1 Parenting

ERA is available for mediation in parenting matters where the applicant is

  • a parent or person who has or had day to day responsibility for the child, or
  • a person who is significant to the care and well-being of the child.

To be eligible for ERA the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

If the applicant is a child, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied it is appropriate they participate in the early intervention mediation conference.

1.2 Property settlement

ERA is available for mediation in property settlement matters where the net value of the pool of assets (excluding superannuation) is $600,000 or less and the applicant

  • has experienced domestic or family violence, or
  • has a disability, or
  • is 55 years of age or older.

To be eligible for ERA the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

1.2A Contribution in property settlement matters

Where a client receives cash of $30,000 or more as a result of the property settlement, they will be expected to contribute to the costs of the mediation as set out in the Early Intervention Mediation Fee Scale.

1.3 Spousal and de facto maintenance

ERA is available for mediation for spousal and de facto maintenance where the applicant:

  • knows the whereabouts of the other person, and
  • if the applicant is the party seeking maintenance, the other person has the capacity to pay.

To be eligible for ERA the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

1.4 Adult child maintenance

ERA is available for mediation in adult child maintenance matters there the applicant is:

  • the parent or carer of a child over the age of 18 who needs financial support because of a disability, or
  • a child over the age of 18 who needs financial support because of a disability, and
  • if the applicant is the party seeking maintenance, the other person has the capacity to pay.

To be eligible for ERA the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

2. Commonwealth Property Mediation Pilot

The Commonwealth Property Mediation Pilot is funded by the Commonwealth Government as part of the Women’s Economic Security Package. It is designed to help separated people with small asset pools who experience barriers in resolving their property matters.

The Pilot commenced on 1 February 2020 and will run to 2023.

2.1 ERA for Commonwealth Property Mediation Pilot

ERA is available for mediation for property matters under the Commonwealth Property Mediation Pilot where the property in dispute is:

  • the superannuation split, or
  • the estimated total net value of the pool of assets is $500,000 or less (excluding superannuation), or
  • the total net value of the applicant’s claim is $250,000 or less, or
  • there is a negative property pool (the dispute is about debts),

AND

the applicant has one or more of the following subjective circumstances:

  • has experienced domestic or family violence, including financial abuse, or
  • there are cultural factors or social isolation that may impact on their capacity to negotiate effectively, or
  • has a history of mental health issues, intellectual, physical or cognitive impairment that is likely to impact on their ability to negotiate without legal representation, or
  • is homeless or at risk of homelessness.

To be eligible for ERA under the Commonwealth Property Mediation Pilot the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

Note: Where Legal Aid NSW determines the first party is eligible for ERA, the second party will be deemed eligible.

2.2 Contribution

Where a client receives cash above $30,000 as a result of the property settlement, they will be expected to contribute to the costs of the mediation in accordance with the Commonwealth Property Mediation Pilot Fee Scale

2.3 Information for clients

This factsheet can be provided to clients to explain the pilot and how to apply.

3. Prefiling Adoption Mediation Pilot

Adoption mediations provide an opportunity for people to talk about issues regarding a child or young person currently living with carers when the issue of adoption of the child or young person has been raised.

Prefiling adoption mediation is a Pilot that commenced on 7 July 2021 and will end on 30 June 2022.

Funding for ERA for prefiling adoption mediation is available where the applicant:

  • is a birth parent or family member of the child,
  • is connected to that child through kinship systems, including but not limited to shared cultural, tribal and community connections, where the child subject to the application is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, or
  • is significant to the care, welfare and development of the child.

To be eligible for ERA the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

Note: For assistance in completing an application for an Adoption mediation please contact: adoptions@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

Date last published: 14/03/2022