Family dispute resolution

What is family dispute resolution?

Family dispute resolution (FDR) is a type of mediation process generally used for parenting.  FDR is a primary dispute resolution method which aims to have parties agree on arrangements for children without the need to go to court.

Generally, before you can go to court you must undertake family dispute resolution.  There are exceptions if there has been domestic and family violence during the relationship or where there are urgent circumstances.

How does family dispute resolution work?

If your matter is suitable for FDR, an FDR practitioner will invite the other party to participate in mediation. The aim of the mediation is to reaching agreement about parenting or other matters and have that agreement formalised through a parenting plan or a set of consent orders.

An FDR practitioner will invite the other party to participate on two occasions.   If the party does not respond or says that they will not participate, the FDR practitioner can issue a certificate which will allow you to commence court proceedings.

What does FDR cost?

FDR can be done either privately or through government funded agencies like the Family Relationship Centre,  Relationships Australia or Centacare.

Government funded agencies generally have a waiting period of  between 6 to 12 weeks and you can expect to pay somewhere between $50 to $75 per hour for their services.   Generally, you get 2 to 3 hours with a government funded agency.

Private FDR practitioners generally charge between $300 to $400 + GST for their services.   Most private practitioners are either solicitors or mediators and have experience in family law matters. Private practitioners work on an hourly basis and if you need more than 2 to 3 hours, most private practitioners will set aside half day or full day mediations to assist you in finalising your parenting matter.

More information

Family Relationship Centre

Relationships Australia


This article contains general legal information and is not a complete statement of the law.  You should obtain specific advice about your own circumstances and not rely upon this article until you have done so.  Andrew McCormack will not accept any liability or responsibility for loss occurring (including negligence) as a result of any person or entity acting or refraining from acting in reliance on any material contained herein.  Information current as at date of posting.
Liability is limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation

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