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Support for separating couples and families



Family dispute resolution (FDR), also known as mediation, helps couples who are separating or divorcing to resolve their family law disputes about parenting and/or property and financial matters. It involves an independent, impartial third party, called an FDR practitioner (FDRP), or mediator.

The benefits of FDR

  • It is often less stressful, and can be a timely and affordable alternative to going to court.
  • It promotes cooperation, helps to prevent or contain further conflict and can preserve relationships between the former partners. This is particularly important for parents who need to co-parent after separation.
  • It uses a clear, structured and easy-to-understand process for negotiating and resolving issues.
  • It gives both people control over the decisions that are made.
  • It is provided by impartial FDRPs who are accredited, highly skilled and experienced.
"A really cool thing that’s come out of mediation is that I can actually communicate with the boys’ mother if it’s about the children. I can do it with ease... friendly and respectfully." - FDR client

What can FDR help with?

Parenting matters

FDR can help parents to agree on living arrangements for their children and how to share parenting after separation or divorce. It can also assist parents to resolve conflicts over child support and other costs. These types of disputes are commonly called ‘parenting matters’ in the family law system. We provide our service with a focus on safety and the best interests of children. Under Australian family law, before filing in court for parenting orders, it is necessary to attempt FDR. There are some exemptions, such as cases involving child abuse, family violence or if a case is urgent.

Property matters

When you separate, as well as making decisions about children and parenting if you have children, you also need to make decisions around financial and property matters. This can include decisions about necessary financial arrangements and how to divide your assets in a property settlement.

Parenting and property matters

It’s not uncommon for separating couples to need to resolve issues around both parenting and property matters. This can be done as part of the same FDR process, or at different times.

Find out more

For more information about the FDR process, read our information sheet, or contact your nearest centre to make an appointment or find out more.

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