Family Dispute Resolution &
How we can help
Many things may come to mind if you have heard the term ‘mediation’. In a formal setting, mediation is the process in which a neutral third person, known as a mediator, assists parties to discuss the issues in dispute, developing options, considering alternatives and endeavouring to reach an agreement with the view of moving forward.
The mediator assists the parties in having these sometimes challenging discussions safely and respectfully. The parties are supported to listen to the perspective and needs of each family member as well as express their options for how they believe disputes may be resolved. These resolutions may be short or long-term depending on the family’s needs. For post-separation parenting and property matters, you may need the more formal process of Family Dispute Resolution.
Family Dispute Resolution
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a unique type of mediation designed to assist families post-separation to reach their own agreements on how to move forward. Parents are encouraged to focus on the best interests of their children and develop a parenting agreement that sets out guidelines for future parenting arrangements.
In most circumstances, attempting FDR is required before making an application to the Family Court of Western Australia for formal legal orders regarding parenting or property matters post-separation. As needed where agreements cannot be reached, a registered FDR Practitioner may issue a certificate that can be used by the parties to begin the formal court process.
With the assistance of Family Dispute Resolution, parents are encouraged to make arrangements that are suitable and practical for their family. This allows parents to remain in control of decisions, allows for flexibility and saves parents time, money and stress in lengthy legal battles.
Benefits of Family Dispute Resolution:
- You’re in control of decisions
- Support from your mediator to provide a structure for future discussions
- Confidentiality; your discussions in FDR remain between the participants
- Faster than formal court processes
With the assistance of Family Dispute Resolution, parents are encouraged to make arrangements that are suitable and practical for their family. If agreements are reached, a good faith agreement can be drafted that sets out the discussed arrangements for moving forward.
After FDR, your practitioner is not able to assist you in formalising any agreements reached. You may both, by agreement, take steps to make agreements enforceable, which will require you to obtain your own independent legal advice. We recommend that each person obtains their own legal advice in this respect.
If the assistance of the Family Court is still required after Family Dispute Resolution, a Section 60I Certificate may be issued to show compliance with the above requirement.
Certificates may also be issued in the event of the below:
- either party did not attend or failed to participate in the process;
- you and the other party attended and made a genuine effort to resolve the dispute;
- you and the other party attended but one or both of you did not make a genuine effort to resolve the dispute;
- the FDR practitioner decided your case was not appropriate for FDR, or
- the FDR practitioner decided it was not appropriate to continue partway through the FDR process.
All cases are assessed before service in conjunction with the Family Law (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners) Regulations 2008. For further details, please contact our service or seek legal advice.
- Get in touch with us and we can schedule a short telephone conversation to gather your details, discuss your circumstances, answer your questions and identify the most appropriate way to move forward.
- Attend an individual appointment at our offices to discuss the process and your experiences prior to
mediation. We will talk about preparation for discussions and identify any further supports that may be
beneficial to you. We will then move on to formally invite the other party into the process if needed.
- The mediator will then facilitate case management to decide whether a mediation process is appropriate. The parties do not attend this part of the process but will be provided with the outcome.
- Family Dispute Resolution will assist parties to identify the issues in dispute, develop options, consider
alternatives and endeavour to reach an agreement. The mediator will maintain a safe and confidential environment and facilitate future-focused discussions.
Initial Consultation (up to 1 hour)
|$250 per person inclusive of GST|
Pre-Mediation Coaching (Conflict Coaching)
|$220 per person per session inclusive of GST|
Mediation (up to 3 hours)
$650 per person inclusive of GST
Prices are inclusive of administration and scheduling costs.
Any mediation that goes beyond 3 hours will be charged at a rate of $250 per person per hour or part thereof (inclusive of GST).
How we can help
Is Family Dispute Resolution compulsory?
For parenting and child-related matters under the Family Law Act 1975, Family Dispute Resolution is a mandatory pre-filing step in approaching the Family Court. This means that prior to asking the Family Court for assistance to resolve disputes, families must first attempt to do so in FDR or meet an exemption.
Attending this service is voluntary, however, in order to provide a pathway to resolve disputes with the help of the Family Court, practitioners may issue Certificates as per the above requirement.
What if I am invited and do not wish to participate?
If you have been invited by our service to participate as a result of another party engaging first and you do not wish to participate, you do not have to. Participation in this service is voluntary.
As we are unable to complete the service, the initiating party may be offered a Certificate to attend the Family Court to allow an alternate pathway to have the conflict resolved.
If you believe that you should not be required to attend or that you may meet an exemption from attending, we recommend seeking legal advice.
Please be aware that we are unable to provide both parties with a Certificate unless both parties are willing to engage with the service.
I am not sure why the other party has initiated this service. Can you tell me what they want to discuss?
Unfortunately, no. We are required under the Family Law (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners) Regulations 2008 to maintain a strict level of confidentiality, meaning we are unable to disclose information between parties without permission.
Equally, if you choose to participate, we do not advise the other party of information disclosed to us or what it is you wish to discuss.
The opportunity to hear what each party wishes to discuss is provided during a mediation session if appropriate.
If we complete an assessment, are we guaranteed mediation?
No. Mediators and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners are required by law to assess suitability for mediation in all cases prior to providing the service.
If at any stage in the process your practitioner deems the service not appropriate, they are required to end the service and provide each party with a Certificate.
Neither party is provided with a reason for this decision due to our strict confidentiality requirements. This decision is unable to be overturned.
Is our agreement legally binding?
No. Agreements reached in mediation are not legally binding but are goodwill agreements that reflect your agreed path forward.
Steps can be taken outside of the mediation process to formalise your agreements by completing an application for Consent Orders through the Family Court.
Our practitioner is unable to assist parties with this due to the legal nature of the document and we recommend seeking legal advice prior to application.
What if I am unable to pay the fees?
If you require the service but are unable to meet the fee obligation, please consider the below:
If someone has engaged with our service, we are unable to end the service based on the fee structure without providing an alternate pathway, so we encourage anyone engaging with our service to ensure that both parties are able to meet the fee obligations.
Do I have to do conflict coaching?
Conflict coaching is not mandatory, however, it is highly recommended to get the most out of your mediation sessions.
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