The Family Law Act provides that unless you fall within an exempt category (such as where there is urgency, risk of family violence or where one or both parties are unable to effectively participate) parties who seek to bring an application to the court seeking parenting orders, are first required to attend a Family Dispute Resolution (‘FDR’). This is a mediation where a specially qualified mediator helps resolve some or all of the parties’ dispute regarding parenting arrangements.
If one parent refuses to participate in the FDR, then the other parent will be issued with a 60I Certificate, which will allow that party to bring an application in the court seeking parenting orders. If the parties attend an FDR and either an agreement is reached or not reached, each party may be issued with a 60I Certificate.
There are two main choices of Family Dispute Resolutions:
- Government funded organisations such as Family Relationship Centres or Legal Aid. This is usually a cheaper option for parties, however there can be delay in having a conference scheduled and most Family Relationship Centres do not allow parties to be represented by a solicitor. This is a significant problem if there is power imbalanced between the parties.
- Private Family Dispute Resolution practitioner. This is a more expensive option, however choosing to use a private Family Dispute Resolution practitioner can help to eliminate significant delay and ensure that you are represented by your own choice of lawyers.
Springwood Lawyers is able to advise you regarding parenting matters and represent you at FDR.