Section 60I of the Family Law Act requires that prior to a person commencing court proceedings with respect to parenting matters, the person must have made a genuine effort to resolve the issues in dispute before applying for court orders. You may attend Family Dispute Resolution, colloquially known as mediation, through government funded organisations such as a Relationship Centre, Legal Aid where applicable and also through privately funded mediation conducted by a Certified Dispute Resolution Practitioner.
The aim of FDR is to have parties genuinely attempt to resolve their disputes regarding parenting matters with the assistance of an independent certified FDR practitioner.
At the end of the FDR if the parties have reached agreement they can then look at whether they wish to record their agreement by way of a parenting plan or court orders agreed to by both parties. There are exemptions to attending FDR/mediation, as follows:
- Abuse of child by one of the parties;
- There would be risk of abuse if there was a delay in applying for an order;
- There has been family violence;
- There is a risk of family violence;
- Contravention where orders were made in the last 12 months;
- Application is made in circumstances or urgency like an application for recovery of the child;
- One party can’t attend because impractible like location, physical disability.
If you need advice on whether FDR is for you or required in your circumstances, then please contact us, your family law specialists at Karen Haga & Associates.