What is Family Dispute Resolution?

Relationship breakdowns, family separation or divorce is one of the most difficult things a family can face.

Often family situations change and some hard decisions need to be made. For example, parents or guardians may disagree on things such as day-to-day care, the children’s cultural upbringing and contact arrangements.

Our Family Works’ mediation services help families reach agreement on parenting arrangements after (or during) a separation or divorce, without the need to go to court.

The Family Works’ Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) service provides a qualitied family mediator who will listen to all points of view and help you reach an agreement about looking after your children.

Our mediation service has been designed to support parents, carers and/or guardians to resolve conflict without the need to go to court. This makes things much less stressful for everyone involved, especially the children, by avoiding the delays, conflict and expense that the court process can entail.

Here’s how it works

The Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) process.

Step 1: Register

Get help resolving a family dispute by registering for our resolution service. You can sign-up online or call us on 0800 737 65 83 and one of our friendly support staff will talk you through the registration process.

Register now

Step 2: Pre-mediation

Our support team will organise free one-on-one session with one of our assessing team members, where you will be able to explain your situation in more detail. This step is free and  done over the phone but can be face-to-face if requested.

Step 3: Coaching

You can participate in a coaching session with one of our expert coaches. This is optional, but will help you to prepare for your family mediation, so is strongly recommended. The session, usually conducted on the phone, focusses with you on the skills and strategies you may need to have a successful mediation session.

Step 4: Child’s voice

A child’s voice practitioner will meet with your children prior to mediation to ensure their thoughts and feelings are conveyed to the adults during the mediation meetings. This is an important part of the mediation – the mediator will talk you through and gain your agreement and consent.

Read more about Voice of the Child

Step 5: Mediation

You’ll meet with the family mediator and the other party for one or more meetings. The family mediator will help you reach an agreement on the issues that need resolving. At the end of the final meeting, we will give you a copy of the agreement, along with a court form in case you need more help from the Family Court at any point.

Our mediators are able to offer online sessions where there are issues around physical distance. If there are real concerns about being in the same room, the mediator can organise a “shuttle” session, where they move between rooms. They will also talk to you about ‘support’ people who can attend with you.

Optional: Free parenting support

We encourage you to attend a free Parenting through Separation course, either before or during the family dispute resolution process. This provides practical advice and information to keep things as stress-free as possible for your children; including tips to help parents or guardians communicate well.

Learn more about Parenting through Separation

Optional: Lodgement

If you want to, you or your ex-partner can ask the Family Court to make your Parenting Agreement into a Consent Order. This makes the agreement more enforceable by law. There is a fee involved for this application.

Sign up for FDR

Reach an agreement on parenting arrangements, without the need to go to Court.