Family Dispute Resolution and the Court

family dispute resolution and the court

By Kayla Curtis

· Read time: 3 minutes

Family dispute resolution practitioners (commonly referred to as “FDR Practitioners”)  are accredited specialists who have had extensive training and education in dispute resolution techniques to provide clients with a tailored approach in settling their disputes.

All FDR Practitioners are neutral third parties that assist clients in maintaining composure during negotiations and help to define the issues in dispute. 

The term “family dispute resolution” is an umbrella term used by courts to encompass all types of dispute resolution services, such as mediation, arbitration and conciliation. These services provide a pivotal step in the family law case management process as they offer clients a way to settle their matters without the need for court invention. These sessions are run by family dispute resolution practitioners. 

What do family dispute resolution practitioners do?

Family dispute resolution practitioners are professionals who have chosen to do further study to gain the necessary qualifications required to conduct family law mediations. Some lawyers opt to study and further their education by becoming FDR certified practitioners but you do not need to be a lawyer to gain this qualification. 

Training for FDR professionals includes management and resolution of complex family law matters, identifying and responding to allegations of domestic violence or abuse, managing client expectation and mitigating any adverse power imbalances between the parties.

FDR Practitioners are registered with the Attorney General’s list “Family Dispute Resolution Register” which provides a list of accredited FDR professionals who are legally allowed to provide clients with a S60i certificate (See “What is a S60i certificate” for more information).

FDR practitioners provide their clients with a safe, neutral and controlled environment to discuss and negotiate the disputes in issue. These practitioners help clients to define and hone in on the specific issues in dispute and offer clients practical ways of “moving forward” and utilise their expertise in managing power imbalances during a session.

The steps involved in meeting with an FDR practitioner usually involve: 

  1. The initial intake – Generally speaking you will be required to fill out a client questionnaire. These questions will be about your issues in dispute and will ask you to provide contact information. This information allows the FDR practitioner to conduct the necessary conflict checks and to start to compile useful information that will be beneficial in assisting through your matter. 
  1. The preliminary Interview – The FDR practitioner will conduct separate interviews with each party to discuss the nature of the disputes and will be able to provide further information about the upcoming sessions and what to expect. This interview is a way for the FDR practitioner to get to know you and your disputes a little better. The FDR practitioner will ask questions and begin to formulate a plan of action for the event session. 
  1. The Event Session – This is when both parties will come together (either via face to face, shuttle or online conference) to negotiate and hopefully come to an agreement. The FDR practitioner will provide step by step guidance during this session and is there if you have any questions. However, it is important to note that an FDR practitioner will not provide you or the other party with any legal advice and will remain neutral (unbiased) during the sessions. 

Attending all FDR sessions with an accredited FDR professional is compulsory (unless an exception applies) in managing your family law matter. If you are unsure if your matter should attempt an FDR session, please contact our firm today to discuss your matter further.

Book a free 15 minute call

Contact us for an obligation-free, 100% confidential chat.







    Need help with your separation?







      Our separation packages make the process easier and more affordable.

      Learn more