Family Dispute Resolution

Family Dispute Resolution is a facilitated process for people in conflict to communicate safely and confidentially with each other on what is important for them, their children and their future to make decisions on resolving their dispute.

FDR is compulsory for people who go to court to seek resolution of disputes concerning children (parenting plan) are required to initially attend FDR to demonstrate a 'genuine effort' in resolving their disputes.

Notwithstanding, exceptions to apply, where there is family violence, child abuse or in urgent matters.

The FDR Practitioner supports clients in a safe environment through the process using active-listening and facilitating clients to talk to one another.  Assists the clients to work through the issues methodically for them to arrive at their own acceptable solution, leading to their mutually satisfactory agreement.

FDR solutions deliver:
• Active listening to the other's view-point, minus interruption;
• Clarifying identified issues for resolution;
• Sharing relevant information;
• Confidential sessions to remove impasses, whereby the client can explore ideas and options;
• Reality testing of offered solutions; and
• Drafting the client agreement.

The FDRP role

The FDRP is a highly-skilled professional that includes family law study.  Highly trained in mediating disputes relating to families supports a wide-range of disputation, relating to children, finances and property matters.

FDRP can work with clients either alone or with another FDRP.  FDRP do not give legal-advice, but can offer to discuss general principles applicable to separation; focusing on 'the child’s best-interests'.

FDRP are impartial and balanced in controlling the FDR process.  The do not control the content parties have under discussion.  Safety and Confidentiality is maintained within the law.  The FDRP’s focus is solution oriented, timely in supporting the parties to resolve their-dispute.  The FDRP ensures parties exercise their right to agree to their decisions.

Expectations from an FDR

FDR is professionally facilitated by an independent FDRP (third-party).  Parties’ decisions made are not legally binding.  Each party has equal time and their opportunity to relevantly, express their opinion on the issues.

Parties are required to show genuine willingness to listen to the other party as well as demonstrate their own willingness to negotiate and commitment to reaching a solution as well as discussing compromises.

Additionally, parties must genuinely follow the process.


FDR benefits:
• Save money and time (Extensive and costly court hearing and delays). FDR is quicker (1 day) whereas the Court process can go on for years.
• Promotes active-listening, suggesting and co-operation through improved communication to open a more cooperative relationship by externalising to written-agreement parenting and financial matters.
• Facilitation works through a process driven structure for resolution of any potential (future) disputation.
• The process is party driven.  The parties maintain control in their decision’s process.  No decision is imposed on either party.
• Generally, much less stressful than going to Court.
• Better conflict resolution outcomes as parties are less inclined to breach mutually made agreements.

Weight the alternatives

These are FDR alternatives:
• Do nothing;
• Continue the conflict;
• Seek gratuitous advice and or assistance of family or friends to ‘get involved’ in your dispute;
• Arbitrate:  A less-formal legal process for dispute resolution.  Less expensive that Court;
• Retain and instruct party by party lawyers for lawyer-led negotiations and ultimate agreements;
• Instruc lawyers to initiate Family Court proceedings; and
• Resolve your issues together; minus professional advice.

To make an appointment to see an FDRP and find out more about resolving your family’s differences, contact the Relationships Builders.

Family Dispute Resolution Certificates
In making an application to the Family Court for a Parenting Order, then you will need a Certificate 60(i) from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner.  The Certificate is confirmation to the Court that you have attempted family dispute resolution.

All Relationships Builders FDRP are registered.

Please note
Exceptions to obtaining a Certificate 60(i), include matters involving family violence or child abuse.

For more information visit the Australian Government's Family Relationships Online website at