The family law system encourages separated or divorced parents to attend family dispute resolution (FDR), and make a ‘genuine effort’ to resolve their disputes concerning their children and parenting matters before resorting to the courtroom. It is usually better to resolve the dispute through mediation rather than through litigation or arbitration.
The mediation process assists all parties to identify their issues, developing various settlement options, and negotiating an acceptable resolution. It is suitable for all disputes regardless of their complexity or the number of parties involved.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other important adults in the lives of children can also use family dispute resolution to agree to these sorts of disputes.
What Are The Advantages?
- Create your solutions
- Maintain the power to decide
- Private and confidential
- Mutually satisfactory outcomes
- Workable decisions
- High rate of compliance from all participants
Family Dispute Resolution Process
Pre-mediation – is mandatory, it’s the first step in the mediation process and takes one hour and a half.
I will meet with each party separately to:
- Check that mediation is suitable and safe.
- Obtain an overview of the issues.
- Explore options for resolution.
- Explain how the mediation will proceed
- Answer questions about the FDR process.
The FDR Process – is a joint mediation that follows a structured process to make sure that each person can have their say, be heard, and can make a considered decision. The mediation will take three hours.
- Explanation of ground rules, expectations, the voluntary and confidential process. Agreement from both parties to proceed.
- Each person has a chance to explain the parenting issues they hope to resolve. I may ask a few questions and summarise what I hear to make sure I understand both sides properly.
- I will create an agenda based on the discussion. Either of you can decide the order of the agenda items that you would like to talk about.
- In the exploration stage, each of you has a chance to discuss the agenda items and understands each other’s point of view. Both of you can propose and consider options to resolve the issues.
- Some options might not be agreed to and others may form the basis for an agreement.
- At some point, I will have a one on one confidential private session.
- A break is allowed at any point in the process.
- I will help both parties negotiate towards an agreement, checking if the proposals are realistic.
- Any points of agreement that are reached will be written down – Who will do What and When will be specified clearly.
- If both parties are ready to lock in the agreement, I will formalise it into a Parenting Plan or Consent Orders for co-parenting.
At the end of the joint mediation:
- If there are still issues to resolve, you may want another FDR session.
- You may have reached a “trial agreement” and want to test it for some time.
- Or you may decide that you can’t reach your own decisions and want to proceed to the family court.
Certificate of Attendance
I am authorised to issue a 60I Certificate. It will prove to the court that you have attempted mediation but it was not successful or it is not suitable in your case. This certificate allows you to apply to the Family Court to seek Parenting Orders. The certificate is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.