Family Dispute Resolution

Where there is a dispute regarding the care of children, the parties are required to attend family dispute resolution with a qualified practitioner, before applying to the Court for specific orders. The practitioner will then issue a certificate stating that a genuine attempt to reach an agreement regarding the care arrangements for children has been made. The certificate must be produced to the court before an application for parenting orders can be made.

In some circumstances, the dispute resolution practitioner may issue a certificate confirming that the matter is not suitable for dispute resolution. The Family Law Act sets out exceptions about when dispute resolution is not required – including in cases of urgency and where there is family violence.

It is recommended that parties obtain legal advice before they attend dispute resolution so that they understand what might be the likely result if they went to court to guide their negotiations. This is crucial in understanding the range of options and outcomes that might be in the best interests of the children. Expert family law advice should be obtained before signing a parenting plan or a consent order.

DDCS Lawyers are specialists in parenting matters, recognising the sensitivity and empathy required in resolving disputes. We combine this with knowledge of the law and strategic thinking to make the process as effective as possible.


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