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Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners in Brisbane

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If you have a family law dispute that you need to resolve, then you may be scared about the prospect of going to court. The good news is that, depending on your matter, you may be able to avoid this stressful process entirely.

How Family Dispute Resolutions Can Assist Your Situation


Family dispute resolution is  typically more cost-effective ways of resolving a matter, than litigation.

Facilitates Co-Operation

The process facilitates co-operation between the parties, and enhances the possibility of reaching a mutually beneficial outcome.

Creates Structure

The process creates a structure that allows any future disputes to be resolved more easily.

Parties Maintain Control

You and your ex-partner can maintain control over the decision-making process, rather than handing control to a judge.

Faster Than Litigation

Family dispute resolution is typically less stressful, and less time-consuming than litigation.


In our experience, people are more likely to stick to an agreement they had a say in than an order imposed by a third party (such as a judge).

What is family dispute resolution?

The First Step for Most Family Law Disputes

The Family Law Act 1975 requires that unless there are circumstances of urgency, or it is not appropriate for family dispute resolution to take place (e.g., because of domestic or family violence) parents must attempt to resolve their family law issues with a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner before they can commence court proceedings.


A Peaceful, Fair Agreement

The family dispute resolution process involves a mediator, known as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, whose aim is to assist you and your ex-partner to resolve some or all your disputes with each other.
The role of the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner is to support both parties and enable them to communicate respectfully and productively about what is important for them in a transparent but confidential forum.


A Potential Solution to Parenting Matters

If you’re looking to resolve a parenting matter with your partner, you’ll learn very quickly from talking to anyone who works in family law that participating (or at least attempting to participate) in Family Dispute Resolution is compulsory before you commence court proceedings.

Damien Greer

What happens in family dispute resolution?

1) Where Possible, We Bring Everyone Together

Unless someone expresses a desire to be in separate rooms, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners often try to facilitate a discussion with both parties in the same room.

If it isn’t appropriate you to be in the same room as your ex-partner, you can request that family dispute resolution be by way of ‘shuttle mediation’. This involves you and your partner sitting in different rooms, and the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner moving between them.

In all circumstances, the meeting will be led by the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, who will act as an independent third party.

2) We Explain the Process, and Identify Objectives

The Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner will start the meeting by explaining the process of the session, ensuring that each party clearly understands what is expected, along with the potential outcomes of the mediation.

They will then help to identify the issues that need to be resolved and encourage each party to listen to the other’s point of view.

3) The Practitioner Will Work Toward a Solution

Throughout the session, the main role of the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner is to keep each person on track and facilitate productive discussion, in an effort to reach a compromise the meets the objectives of each parent, in a child focused manner.. Ideally at the end of your session, you will have agreed on the arrangements for the children, which can later be documented by way of a Parenting Plan or Consent Order. You should always obtain legal advice prior to signing any formal document such as a Parenting Plan or a Consent Order, to make sure that you understand the effect and enforceability.

Family Dispute Resolution FAQs

During the process, everything you say to the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner is confidential, but there are some exceptions, such as if you make a threat to someone else’s life or to your own life. Similarly, what is said cannot be used in court, except for limited circumstances, such as if the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner needs to report child abuse or finds anything that indicates a child is at risk of abuse.

Where there is a situation of urgency, where there is family violence child abuse or any substantive risk of harm to a child, those parties are exempt from first attending family dispute resolution and can make an application directly to the Court. We can provide you with advice in relation to whether your circumstances fall within one of the categories of exemption.

The Queensland Government operates a limited number of family dispute resolution centres throughout Queensland that are free – however, wait times tend to be greater.

There are also several private dispute resolution practitioners who charge higher fees for their services but are experts in their field. They’re also more often able to accommodate family dispute resolution sooner.

If the session is unsuccessful, or one party refuses to participate in the process, the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner can issue what is known as a ‘Section 60I Certificate”.  This will allow either party to make an application to a family law court.
Wendy Miller

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