Family law court filing fees vs costs of private mediation

The Family Court and Federal Magistrates Courts has introduced new and increased filing fees for family law matters. 

An initiating spouse must now pay a filing fee of $500 when commencing proceedings in respect of both parenting and property issues or $305 when the proceedings are about either parenting or property. The responding spouse must pay a filing fee of $305. Spouses must also pay (for the first time) a filing fee to attend at a Conciliation Conference (where most matters settle) of $350.  Spouses who reach agreement at the Conciliation Conference therefore may face filing fees in excess of $1,100 (not including their lawyer’s fees).  This is not significantly less than the cost of my private family law mediation service.  If spouses proceed to final hearing they must pay even more – either $560 or $765 (depending on the court) for the first hearing day and the same for each subsequent day of the hearing

I currently charge $275 for pre-meetings with each party and then $880 for a three hour joint meeting (comparable to a Conciliation Conference conducted by the Court) or $1,500 for a longer six hour joint meeting. 
 
I can generally organize pre-meetings for each party within a week and joint meetings within a further week thereafter.  This is in contrast to the Courts where a Conciliation Conference may not be conducted for five or six months after the commencement of proceedings.
 
If you have clients, friends or colleagues who might benefit from prompt and private family law mediation, you are welcome to call me to discuss.
 
The following fees apply from 1 January 2013 in the Family Court and the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia in family law proceedings. 

$500               Initiating Application (when orders are sought in respect to both children and
                        property)
$305               Initiating Application (when orders are sought in respect of either children or
                        financial orders, but not both)
$305               Response to Initiating Application
$105               Interim Application
$765               Hearing fee Family Court for first day and same for each further day
$560               Hearing fee  Federal Magistrates Court for first day and same for each further
                  day

$350               Conciliation conference
$50                 Issue of Subpoena
$800               Application for Divorce (Federal Magistrates Court) 
These fees can be waived or reduced in some circumstances.