What is Effective Dispute Resolution (EDR)?

Effective Dispute Resolution:

A journey with Dignity EDR

Conflict is just a part of life, and it exists in all kinds of relationships.

Sometimes, these disagreements are only minor. However, couples with different expectations and opinions can sometimes have disagreements that unfortunately spiral, which can sadly lead to significant personal, financial and health issues if left unresolved.

For many years in Australia, family law litigation was the only reliable solution that people who were going through family disputes and divorce could turn to for a resolution. The common phrase is “lawyering up and going to court to fight.”

As you’d expect, this can often be a hostile process that can lead to a bitter ending. 

So, is there an alternative?

Fortunately, there is.

Two experienced Melbourne lawyers, Barry Berger and Leon Berger and their team, were inspired by the “conscious uncoupling” term coined by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin when they used it to refer to their amicable divorce.

From here, Barry and Leon decided to offer a new pre-lawyer way for people to find a more amicable outcome through different dispute resolution methods such as mediation, conciliation and facilitation rather than defaulting to family court litigation – saving a lot of time, cost and stress in the process.

This is where Effective Dispute Resolution (EDR) came from

You’ll see it in our name, Dignity EDR.

For many years, dignity was unfortunately something that was often lost in the process of divorce and separation. It can be a particularly difficult time and people who are going through this phase in life often feel stressed, emotional and unsure about what to do next.

Unfortunately, in some cases, children are also often involved in this challenging family situation too.

The last thing you want is to then take this all to court and endure that process.

When it comes to separation, divorce and other relationship and family law disputes, courts can be the ‘destructive default’ or be seen as ‘the only resort’. That’s because, for the most part, it’s not the ideal place for couples to reach a resolution.

That’s why we believe it’s time for a dignified change

With around 80 years of collective experience in the family law industry, our team, led by Barry and Leon Berger, have seen first-hand how the current Australian family law system can be expensive, slow and adversarial, which then places significant decisions in the judge’s hands that can really impact the lives of so many involved – from the couples themselves to their children and extended families too.

So, after seeing the process play out time and time again, we decided to use the power of mediation, conciliation and facilitation in dispute resolution by establishing Dignity EDR.

“A revelation hit me a couple of years ago that maybe the cut and thrust of litigation wasn’t always the best solution. So, I looked at other dispute-resolution methods,” Barry Berger (Family Law Specialist, Mediator, Arbitrator & Collaborative Lawyer) shared.

“For a number of years in the 80s, I held the portfolio for the Family Law Section of the Law Institute in Victoria in alternate dispute resolution. I struggled with the word ‘alternate’ because I felt as though they put litigation as the main dispute-resolution methodology, and everything else was just secondary to it. So, I’d like to call mediation, collaboration and facilitation additional dispute-resolution methods and not just an alternative.”

With so many emotions involved during this process, we’ve found mediating or facilitating a separation or divorce instead of rushing down the court path, means people going through this complicated situation can actually reach more amicable and satisfying long-term outcomes.


This mediation approach offers people a more respectful way of reaching a compromise, rather than the combative court system.

This is particularly necessary in cases where children are involved, as all of the people involved have to keep communicating and maintain some form of relationship.

With this empathetic EDR approach to family law disputes, we can ensure that the result of our mediation and dispute resolution process will enable both people to continue working together toward a mutually beneficial result.

“The focus needs to be on how both parties can walk away from this with a result that they’re happy with or at least they can live with,” Leon Berger (Family Law Accredited Specialist, Nationally Accredited Mediator & Facilitator) said.

“Our team is dedicated to championing a more conducive way to separate and navigate family conflict so our clients can reclaim their lives and move forward.”

Our Dignity EDR difference: what we specialise in

Our team at Dignity EDR has always come from a place of deep understanding and empathy for people – no matter how simple or complex their situation is.

Whenever we conduct a mediation, we always think about the long-term results that will protect not only their dignity but also anyone else’s who is directly involved in a family matter.

“Our vision is to change the mainstream mentality and focus on finding a resolution to the family dispute by working towards getting to the point where both parties can reclaim their lives and move on” Leon Berger stated.

Dignity EDR, most importantly, is aimed at giving people the respect and control to make a positive difference especially when they are at their most vulnerable in a cost-effective, outcome-oriented way.

We commit to offering the following to both people involved:

  •       Fairness

Dignity EDR always believes in equitable results for all. In all ways, Dignity EDR ensures that the result of the mediation will enable everyone involved to continue working together amicably.

  •       Full control

As mediators, we understand that divorce and separation can make those involved feel like they’re out of control. Instead, we keep life-altering decisions in your hands and ensure we’ll be by your side throughout the entire journey.

  •       Experience and expertise

With decades of collective experience within the Australian family law space, our team at Dignity EDR possess the knowledge and expertise in handling a diverse range of family scenarios including divorce, parenting arrangements, property and financial settlement.

  •       Great outcomes

Dignity EDR always goes above and beyond in mediating conflicts by working together with people to achieve an amicable outcome.

  •       And most importantly, dignity

Separation can be a fearful, confusing and stressful situation. It often strips a person of their dignity especially if they’ve got no one who can support them. At Dignity EDR, we aim to provide couples and everyone involved with a professional dispute resolution service so they can reach a settlement and start living their lives again.

“A significant part of what we do here at Dignity EDR is making sure that everyone understands what the law is, what the process is, what’s possible and not possible and then what’s most important in getting into that decision-making to resolve the disputes,” Leon Berger shared.

“It is our goal to transform the way people handle family law dispute resolution in a more dignified way because we believe that mediation and open communication are the best solutions where both parties can achieve amicable outcomes,” Barry Berger said.

Approach dispute resolution with Dignity EDR

As you can see, our team is passionate about helping you resolve relationship disputes with the help of expert mediation – before the court process is considered.

Dignity EDR is not your traditional law firm.

Instead, we offer Australian dispute resolution services through mediation, conciliation, facilitation and also arbitration for people and families who may find themselves needing a way to keep things amicable, respectful and dignified.

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, personal dispute or separation, reach out to our Melbourne-based mediation team so we can help you reach an outcome through our effective and dignified process.

Speak to us today.