Prior to making an Application to the Court, parties must participate in Family Dispute Resolution (FDR). FDR is an alternate form of dispute resolution, which requires the parties to attempt to negotiate an agreement in the presence of an independent third party.
FDR requires parents to make a “genuine effort” to resolve disputes relating to parenting matters. Some exceptions apply in situations involving family violence or child abuse or urgent matters. Like any mediation, the FDR practitioner will assist the parties in evaluating proposals, identifying issues that need clarification or resolution, reality testing proposals and assisting the parties to reach a formal agreement that can be later documented. During FDR parties can also discuss and try to reach agreement about other matters including property settlement proceedings.
FDR can occur through various Government funded agencies such as the Family Relationships Centre, Relationships Australia or Centacare. However, as there is generally a high demand for government funded services, waiting lists mean that you could wait a significant period before being able to use these services. FDR can also occur by engaging a private FDR practitioner. Private FDR practitioners generally have more flexibility regarding availability. Fees for private FDR practitioners vary and we can assist you in finding an FDR practitioner and obtaining cost estimates.
FDR practitioners are also able to issue section 60I certificates. It is a requirement of the Family Law Act that prior to commencing proceedings you participate, or attempt to participate, in FDR. In the event that you do participate and cannot reach an agreement, the FDR practitioner is able to issue a certificate stating that you made a genuine attempt. They can also issue a certificate that a party did not make a genuine attempt to resolve the dispute or that one party (despite being requested) did not attend FDR when invited to do so.
Our team of family lawyers Brisbane, Toowoomba, Ipswich & North Lakes can prepare your matter for Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) and provide you with representation throughout the process.