Family Law Arbitration

If you have a family law matter relating to an application for a property settlement and you are in the Court system in Australia, there is a way out.  Family Law Arbitration

What is Family Law Arbitration?

Parties who are unable to resolve their dispute relating to how their property ownership will be adjusted following separation or a breakdown in their relationship have a couple of choices as to how they can have someone else make the decision for them.

  1. Appoint an Arbitrator to make the decision for them; or

  2. File an application with either the Family Law Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.


The timeframe for parties to receive a decision after filing an application with either the Family Law Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, they will have to wait for up to 3 years to receive an order and judgement from a Judge.

On the other hand, you can control the time if you choose Arbitration.  Most parties will walk away with an award from an Arbitrator that has the same ability to be enforced as an Order from a Judge within 3 to 6 months (depending on the circumstances and complexity of the matter). 

Who is Arbitration for?

Arbitration is not for parents who can not agree on arrangements for their children.

Arbitration is only for parties who can not agree on how their property will be divided following the end of their relationship.

How will Arbitration work for my family?

There are several steps that are common to all matters.  They are set out below:

  1. Parties separate;


  2. Parties provide each other with full and frank financial disclosure to ensure they have complied with the Family Law Rules and Regulations (this ensures that any negotiations, orders or awards are being made correctly);


  3. Parties attempt to resolve their dispute;


  4. If parties are successful, parties enter into consent orders or a binding financial agreement;


  5. If parties are unsuccessful they can choose to Arbitrate or file an application with a Court;


  6. If parties choose to file an application with the Court they can always seek that the Court matter is referred to an Arbitrator by consent;


  7. Arbitration is chosen, the following will occur;

    1. Parties and their Lawyers choose their Arbitrator;

    2. Parties, their lawyer and the Arbitrator enter into an Arbitration Agreement;

    3. The lawyers and Arbitrator have a directions hearing or call-over, usually via telephone or video link to ensure that all the parties documents, applications, responses, affidavits, subpoena and other evidence such as valuations have been prepared and exchanged;

    4. Once that is confirmed the lawyers will inform the Arbitrator how the parties would like the Arbitration to proceed, on submissions, via cross-examination or just by the Arbitrator reading the documents alone “on the papers”;

    5. After the method of Arbitration has been chosen, a date will be selected for the Arbitration to take place;

    6. If the parties choose for a traditional hearing with cross-examination to take place, a venue will be chosen and parties will attend the hearing and be cross-examined by the other parties lawyers;

    7. Within 28 days of the last day of any hearing the Arbitrator MUST hand down their award;

    8. The award is sent to the parties lawyers;

    9. The parties lawyers are responsible for registering the award with the Court;

    10. The parties lawyers are responsible for lodging any objection to the registration of the Award or lodging any appeal if they are of the view that there is an error of law in the Award.

Why book Kelly Stanford as our Family Law Arbitrator?

Kelly has 20 years experience as a Lawyer and became a Mediator in 2016 and an Arbitrator in 2017.  Family Law has made up most of her practice as a lawyer representing parents, children and other family members in both parenting and property disputes.

Kelly is very straight forward and a no nonsense type of lawyer with a great ability to connect with people from all walks of life.   Kelly’s many years of experience in Family Law has given her a great insight into people and an ability to communicate the law clearly and concisely and without jargon.

How do I book Kelly Stanford as our Family Law Arbitrator?

You can book Kelly by calling 1300 444 LAW or 02 4655 4845 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday or by emailing 

How much does Arbitration cost?

Directions Hearings
Preparation & reading time
Submissions On the Papers – no appearance
Day 1
Appearance and Cross
Day 2 Appearance and Cross
Day 3 Appearance and Cross
Award Writing