Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)

Expert Advice On Family Dispute Resolution From Brisbane Family Lawyers

Key Points

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a specific type of mediation to assist separating families to come to agreement in relation to parenting matters.

The Family Law Act requires separated parents to participate in Family Dispute Resolution before commencing proceedings in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court in relation to parenting matters.

There are exemptions to this requirement, including:

  • if parties are applying for ‘consent orders’;
  • where family violence or child abuse is a factor;
  • when you are the respondent to an application to court;
  • where there are urgent issues;
  • if a person is unable to participate effectively (for example, due to incapacity or geographical location), or
  • if a person has contravened and shown a serious disregard for a parenting order made in the last 12 months.


During FDR:

  • parents will discuss the issues in dispute and consider different options, and are encouraged to focus on the needs of their children. FDR uses a neutral and accredited Family Dispute Resolution practitioner;
  • the main objective is to assist participants to reach an agreement in relation to parenting matters.

Once a parenting agreement is reached it should be formalised either by way of a Parenting Plan or Consent Orders setting out the agreed future parenting arrangements.

It is not compulsory to have a solicitor represent you at the FDR however in certain circumstances we would recommend it.

While some FDR Practitioners will prepare a Parenting Plan that reflects the agreement reached, we strongly recommend each parent obtains their own advice from an expert family lawyer before finalising their agreement.

“Going through a separation is not pleasant. O’Reilly Shaw Family Law provided a very efficient and courteous service. Louise walked me through the process and made everything as stress-free as possible. Forms were simple to complete, communication was excellent and the timing was better than I had expected. Costs were all explained clearly and fees were charged honestly. My case was resolved efficiently and cost-effectively. Without question I would recommend O’Reilly Shaw Family Law. Thank you Louise for turning something I was fearing into a much easier and more positive process.”

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