Rebekah Dorter, Principal is an Accredited Mediator with LEADR (The Resolution Institute), an international organisation promoting mediation for conflict resolution. Rebekah has a track record in resolving matters and her experience with clients across Australia reinforces our firm’s position on the value of mediation in reaching a successful resolution efficiently and without litigation.
What is family mediation?
Family mediation refers to both formal and informal ways that separated families can resolve their disagreements following divorce or separation, usually with the assistance of a neutral third party. Often, the issues in dispute relate to arrangements over the care of children of the relationship.
Separated families are encouraged to undertake family mediation before bringing the matter before the family law courts, as court proceedings can often be a long, costly and stressful process.
Family law mediation may be carried out in several different ways, including:
- A discussion between the parents
- Electing a friend or family member to help
- Informal general mediation
- Using a Family Dispute Resolution service
Agreements pertaining to the care of children which are reached during mediation may be formalised by way of Parenting Plans or legally binding consent orders approved by the Court.
If a family law dispute cannot be resolved through mediation, it may be necessary to go to Family Court where a judge will make a final decision. Mediation is fundamentally aimed at preventing the situation from reaching this point.
What is Family Dispute Resolution?
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a type of mediation to help separating families to reach their own agreements. During FDR, parties are encouraged to discuss the issues in dispute and consider the different options available while being urged to focus on the needs of the children. FDR is mediated by an accredited family dispute resolution practitioner.
FDR is primarily intended to help participants create a parenting plan that outlines the agreed-upon future parenting arrangements.
FDR is an affordable and practical way for separated families to formulate future parenting arrangements with the assistance of a professional family mediator. See the Family Dispute Resolution Factsheet for further information.
Family Dispute Resolution practitioners
A FDR practitioner is a trained mediator who specialises in family disputes. They are an independent person, registered with the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department who helps separated families to resolve their parenting disagreements.
As an impartial party, FDR practitioners take a neutral position as they facilitate the mediation process, encouraging participants to openly discuss and clarify the issues in dispute in a safe and supportive environment.
Exemptions to using Family Dispute Resolution
Under Australian Family Law, it is mandatory for separated families to attempt FDR before applying to Family Court for parenting orders.
However, there are some exemptions to this requirement, including:
- When you are formalising an agreement through ‘consent orders’
- Where family violence or child abuse is a factor
- When you are responding to an application to court
- Urgent situations
- When a party is unable to participate effectively (e.g. due to incapacity or geographical location)
- A party has contravened and demonstrated a serious disregard for a court order made in the last 12 months
Here When You Need Us
If you have recently gone through a divorce or separation and are having difficulty reaching an agreement over parenting arrangements, it is important to seek legal advice from a specialist family lawyer. At Dorter Family Lawyers & Mediators our team is here to help you navigate the process.
With an experienced team of accredited family law mediators, Dorter Family Lawyers & Mediators is committed to understanding your particular family situation, helping you and your former partner find workable solutions to your family disputes to achieve the best outcome for your children and their future.
Speak to our specialised team at Dorter Family Lawyers & Mediators for tailored advice.