It is compulsory in Australia for people who have separated to attempt Family Dispute Resolution (“FDR”) before applying to a family court for orders in relation to parenting matters. There are some exemptions to that compulsory requirement, however, including:
- Where issues are required to be dealt with on an urgent basis, such as a concern that the other party may attempt to leave the Country with a child of your relationship;
- Where family violence or child abuse is a factor;
- When you are formalising an agreement through ‘consent orders’;
- When a person is unable to participate effectively (for example, due to incapacity or geographical location); or
- When a person has contravened and shown a serious disregard for a court order made in the last 12 months.
FDR is defined in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), specifically at section 10F as “any non-judicial process where an independent FDR practitioner helps people affected, or likely to be affected, by separation or divorce, to resolve some or all of their disputes with each other”. In more basic terms, FDR is a special type of mediation used to help separating families come to their own agreements. To assist in reaching an agreement, an FDR Practitioner will help you consider different options, while encouraging you to focus on the needs of your children as well.
During the FDR process, the mediator will do an individual session with yourself and your ex-partner, before scheduling a joint session. You don’t need a solicitor to attend with you at FDR, however we strongly suggest you obtain legal advice from a solicitor experienced in Family Law prior to attending, so you are well aware of your rights and responsibilities.
We at Perth Family Lawyers regularly work with FDR practitioners more extensively as FDR develops, often being engaged by a party after they have completed FDR to assist in formalising their agreement through ‘consent orders’.
In light of the current situation with COVID-19, many Family Dispute Resolution services are offering mediations and intake sessions via video or telephone conference. Perth Family Lawyers are set up and ready to go with the latest technology to assist you during an FDR via telephone or video link, with services running as smoothly as ever.
FDR can be useful in helping you reach an agreement which will ultimately save you money, and time. Family Dispute Resolution also gives you control over your own matter and any agreement reached, rather than leaving it in the hands of a Court to decide. Our Family Law Solicitors at Perth Family Lawyers have significant experience in representing clients at FDR but understand that sometimes going to court might be the only way to sort things out, and are skilled litigators when that course is required.
Perth Family Lawyers are here to help and assist, whatever stage your matter is at. Please call us today, on (08) 9325 8675 or visit our website on www.perthfamilylawyers.com to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled solicitors.