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28 February 2020

Keeping up appearances

Family Law


Property settlement – Private mediation with lawyers and amending the financial statement

If parties attend a private mediation, are lawyers normally present?

We also need to file an amended financial statement on our client's behalf. Can that be done by simply filing it or do we need leave of the court? Do the changes need to be underlined or identified in a particular way?


Thank you for the question.

If it is a court-ordered private mediation in lieu of a conciliation conference, then usually lawyers attend. If it is a dispute resolution type mediation through a family relationship centre or Relationships Australia, then normally lawyers do not attend, however, this needs to be clarified with the mediation provider. 

The By Lawyers Property Settlement guide provides the following commentary in relation to amending applications or responses, which also applies to financial statements:

If a party seeks to amend their application or response, r 7.01 of the Federal Circuit Court Rules and r 11.10 of the Family Law Rules address amending an application or response. 
In the amended document underline any amendments, including any items which are to be deleted. Also strikethrough these items rather than actually deleting them, and amend the title of the document to Amended Initiating Application, or Amended Response, as the case may be. Traditionally the underlining has been done in red ink, but it is not uncommon to see it in black, which is perhaps the result of the printer where the documents were printed. 
Pursuant to the rules, technically, leave is required to file an amended document, however practically, the document is filed and then leave may be sought at the next court date.