What All Parents Need to Know About Family Dispute Resolution

Little girl crying with parents fighting in the background

FDR or family dispute resolution might be able to help former partners or spouses reach an agreement regarding their relationship issues, including matters regarding children. This process can likewise be utilised for resolving disputes among family members, like rights of the grandparents concerning their grandkids, even if you’re not separated from your partner or spouse. Under the law, you need to participate in family dispute resolution prior to being allowed to apply for court orders in Family Court, unless you have a really justifiable reason not to.

Common Family Issues Resolved in a Family Dispute Resolution

With help from an impartial FDR practitioner, you can sort out various family issues, including the following:

  • Where and whom your kids will live with following your separation, as well as other issues concerning how to raise them, where will they go to school, etc.
  • When and how your kids can spend quality time with their other parent and relevant relatives.
  • How your finances and assets will be divided.

What Happens During a Family Dispute Resolution Session

In an FDR session, the assigned FDR practitioner will mediate the session and help you resolve your issues. The practitioner is to remain neutral and isn’t allowed to dole out legal advice to any party. It’s in your best interest to obtain advice from a local Townsville solicitor prior to going an FDR session and signing any agreements reached during the session. That being said, here’s what you can generally expect during the FDR meeting:

  • Identifying and establishing issues;
  • Sharing relevant details about the issues;
  • Laying out each party’s specific concerns;
  • Looking at all options and ideas presented; and
  • Working together and compromising to reach possible solutions and a fair agreement.

Confidentiality and Privacy During FDR Sessions

The FDR practitioner is bound by law to keep everything said during FDR meetings confidential and private, even from Family Court. However, certain information should be disclosed in the event that this information can safeguard a child at risk of being harmed physically or psychologically, an individual’s health or life from potential harm, or property from intentional destruction or damage. In addition, the FDR practitioner can’t utilise information said in FDR meetings as evidence in Family Court cases, that is unless it’s required due to risk or history of family violence.

What Happens After an FDR Session?

Family sitting on the couch

In the event that you managed to resolve your dispute during the FDR session, you could make it formal and file a consent application with the court or create a formal parenting plan or agreement. Doing so will help ensure that all parties are clear on the agreement and make dealing with relevant organisations like schools and banks easier moving forward. This will likewise prevent claims from being filed against you later on.

If for some reason, you didn’t manage to come to an agreement in the FDR session, you’ll be given a certificate for opening a parenting case to obtain parenting orders. When going this route, make sure to seek legal help from an experienced family solicitor before taking your case to court.