So you’ve been told you need to go to Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)- but what is it, and do you really have to go?
Well, FDR is now compulsory if you and the other party are in conflict over parenting issues. It means that you need to have a real ‘go’ at trying to sort out your legal issue before you’re able to take your parenting matter to court.
You’ll get a certificate after doing mediation called a s60i Certificate and this lets you make an application in court.
So yes, you do have to go, but there are a few exceptions like family violence, urgent matters and child abuse. You should speak to a lawyer about what process applies to you.
FDR is basically a mediation or conference between you and your ex-partner where you have an opportunity to talk through your needs and concerns with the aid of an independent third party-mediator. Depending on your particular needs there are a number of ways in which mediation can be undertaken, including but not limited to:
- Face to Face – You come to a location and do the mediation in person. You and your ex – partner are in the same room as the mediator but may break off with your solicitor for a private session before returning to the group.
- Over the Phone – If you cannot attend in person, you may be able to conduct the mediation over the phone. In this case, all parties can hear each other, except when they break up into private sessions. In this way it is much like a face to face meeting, just over the phone.
- Shuttle – A shuttle is suitable in circumstances where there is family violence or a similar situation where parties are unable to speak with each other. In this format, you and your legal representative take turns with the other side privately speaking to the mediator. The mediator will then go back and forth between private conversations, delivering information that you give consent to share with the other party in order to reach an agreement.
Despite it being mandatory to complete mediation in most cases, there are also many benefits to the process:
- Working out what the issues really are
- Exploring different perspectives and ideas
- Possibility of working your issues out with the hassle, cost and time involved in taking your matter to court
- Having your agreements documented and in writing (consent orders)
- More control in your outcomes as opposed to having a judge make the decision about your parenting situation
- Having an independent third party help you through the communication process so that it remains dignified, respectful and productive