Before applying for court orders about children, separated parents must, under the Family Law Act, make a genuine effort to resolve problems by attending family dispute resolution (FDR). FDR can include counselling, mediation or arbitration.
FDR works best when both sides feel safe and are able to negotiate equally. It there is a history of family violence or allegations of child abuse, neglect or abduction or if you have received or been served with an Intervention Order, it may not be appropriate to attend FDR and you should seek legal advice. Please note that the court may exempt you from FDR in these situations. Please contact us at Eales & Mackenzie and we can assist you with these enquiries.
Benefits Of FDR
FDR is informal and with an independent person skilled in dealing with family problems
FDR is less expensive, time consuming and confrontational than going to court.
FDR can help you and the other party to work through your disagreement and try to find a solution to the dispute.
FDR improves the chances that the agreement will be long lasting.
FDR providers do not give advice so it is important to get legal advice beforehand. Eales & Mackenzie lawyers can provide you with this advice. Please contact us for a quick and easy telephone consultation.
What Can FDR Do For You?
Family counsellors also give advice and assistance to couples who are considering separation or who are finding it difficult to cope with separation. Counsellors can help couples resolve differences about parenting and contact with children. They can help you to explore concerns you may have about your relationship and assist you to deal with separation issues and your children’s needs. They can also help separated or separating parents negotiate arrangements for their children. You may see a Counsellor separately or with your spouse, whichever you prefer.
If you reach agreement, you can record the terms of your agreement in a Parenting Plan or apply to the Family Law Courts for Consent Orders.
How To Organise FDR
There are many community based organisations and private lawyers that provide family counselling and dispute resolution services. Please contact Eales & Mackenzie’s Family Lawyers who can direct you how to organise FDR.
What To Do If FDR Is Not Successful
If your attempts at FDR are not successful, or if the other party fails or refuses to attend, you should ask the Counsellor to provide you with a Section 60I Certificate. This certificate will allow you to apply to the court for orders regarding your children and the arrangements for their care.
If you have been given one of these Certificates, please contact Eales & Mackenzie to discuss the options available to you. We can provide you with further information and advice as to the best options available to your personal circumstances. Every client is different and may have particular needs.