Resolution of Family Disputes

Posted in: Family Law Friday, 24 August 2018

Family Law DisputeCLO Lawyers is a family dispute law firm – our family lawyers help people affected by separation or divorce to sort out family disputes.

We can assist you to reach agreement with your former spouse or partner on a range of issues relating to financial matters and most importantly, your children.

Our family dispute solicitors will help you understand your rights and responsibilities and explain the law that applies to your case.

Your assigned family dispute lawyer will use advanced negotiation skills to help you to achieve a timely, pragmatic and cost-effective resolution of your family law issues, avoiding the need for determination by a court.

In certain circumstances, your family dispute practitioner may refer you to a formal family mediation process known as Family Dispute Resolution (FDR), facilitated by a neutral person.

What is Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)?

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) refers to services (such as mediation) that are designed to help you resolve your family dispute without needing to go to court.

CLO Lawyers can facilitate your involvement in FDR to encourage you and your former spouse or partner to agree on solutions that suit both of you – and your children. It is practical, confidential and it works!

If you can resolve your differences through a family dispute resolution process, you’ll save time, money and stress.

In family law cases, litigants must make a genuine effort to resolve their family dispute through FDR services before they can apply to the courts for parenting orders and financial orders.

Is Family Dispute Resolution compulsory?

It is compulsory under Australian family law for separated parents to attempt FDR before applying to a family law court for parenting orders.

The Court will not be able to hear an application for a parenting order unless a certificate from an accredited family dispute practitioner is filed with the application.

There are 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 issues
• A person is unable to participate effectively (for example, due to incapacity or geographical location), or
• A person has contravened and shown a serious disregard for a court order made in the last 12 months.

The requirement to participate in FDR applies to new applications relating to parenting, and applications seeking changes to an existing Parenting Order.

The Family Court requires people applying for financial orders to follow pre-action procedures including FDR before being able to file an application. In the Federal Circuit Court, litigants are encouraged to resolve issues they don’t agree about before filing any applications. In many cases parties will be ordered to attend family dispute resolution before they file with the Court.

What happens during Family Dispute Resolution?

Before FDR can commence, an assessment will be made to see whether FDR is suitable for your situation. FDR practitioners are impartial and will not take sides. They can help you to explore family issues in an objective and positive way.

Unlike counselling, FDR doesn’t focus on the emotional side of relationships. It concentrates on resolving specific family disputes.

You are encouraged to make a genuine effort to try to resolve your family dispute with the help of your FDR practitioner.

FDR can help both of you to discuss issues, look at options, and work out how best to reach agreement. Importantly, you can use FDR to develop a parenting plan to set out arrangements for your children. An FDR practitioner will also check that everyone understands what is being said and agreed upon.

When FDR isn’t working, the FDR practitioner can suggest other options, such as family dispute counselling.

What happens to any agreement reached at Family Dispute Resolution?

If you reach an agreement on arrangements for your children, this can be recorded as a parenting plan. A parenting plan must be in writing, dated and signed by both parents. Your agreement or parenting plan can include mechanisms to change arrangements and resolve disagreements.

More information

For more information about compulsory family dispute resolution (or to find a family dispute resolution service provider in your local area) go to

For information from the Attorney-General’s Department about family dispute resolution, visit

For more information about filing an application with the Courts, visit or or call the National Enquiry Centre on 1300 352 000.

CONTACT YOUR FAMILY DISPUTE LAWYERS TOOWOOMBA: Call Murray Crawford or Sarah Marsden on 07 4631 9000

About the Author

Murray Crawford

Murray Crawford
 | BEc, LLB, LLM (Applied Family Law)

With a passion for the law and a strong social conscience, Murray is a strong advocate who’s focused on achieving positive outcomes for his clients and supports the community through leadership positions with several not-for- profit organisations.

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