Understanding the Process

Family Dispute Resolution is the term used to describe mediation services that are specifically designed to assist couples and families affected by separation and divorce. The mediation sessions facilitate calm discussions around, and solutions to, family disputes. Family dispute resolution is also often called ‘family mediation’.

We provide family mediation services in:-

  • Parenting matters; and
  • Financial matters involving property settlements.

Only accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners can issue Section 60I certificates under the family Law Act 1975. These mediators are specifically accredited by the Attorney General’s Department and meet the standards of the Family Law (Family dispute resolution Practitioners) Regulations 2008. This certificate allows parties who have been unable to reach an agreement to commence proceedings in Court.

Mediation Solutions Central Queensland is an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Provider and can issue S.60I certificates.

Parenting Orders can only be obtained by application to the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court. In most cases, in order to apply to the court for an order, you must first have tried Family Dispute Resolution with an accredited practitioner.

In property matters, whilst it is not compulsory to seek mediation before applying to the court, it is encouraged and may be ordered by the court as part of the process.

Family Dispute Resolution is a completely confidential process. There are limited exceptions to this – we are obliged to report child abuse, a threat to a person’s life, or if criminal activity may be involved.

In Family Dispute Resolution, we generally use the facilitative process of mediation. This means we facilitate discussion between the parties and assist each party to generate options so they can move towards an amicable resolution. Our role is to help parties explore family issues in an objective and positive light, with a view to reaching an agreement tailored to your needs.

The mediator does not take sides and does not make any decisions but is a neutral, impartial facilitator.

Mediation can take place in several different ways. We offer the following:-

  • Joint mediation where the parties meet face to face with the mediator;
  • Telephone mediation when the parties may be at home or place of business;
  • Shuttle mediation when each party is allocated a separate room and the mediator moves between them.

Whilst it is not necessary to have a solicitor present at mediation, parties may be represented by a solicitor if they wish. We always encourage participants in mediation to seek independent legal advice from a solicitor prior to mediation so they have an understanding of their legal rights and obligations as this can assist the process.

If agreement is reached it can then be formalised into a Parenting Plan or Consent Orders.

A Parenting Plan is a document that outlines the agreement reached, signed and dated by both parties.

Click here to access a Fact Sheet on Parenting Plans.

Consent Orders are orders made by the Court with the consent of both parties. An application can be made to the Court by both parties for the agreement reached at mediation to be formalised as consent orders. We recommend each party obtain independent legal advice if consent orders are required.

Click here to access a fact sheet on Consent Orders.

If you attend Family Dispute Resolution in relation to parenting matters and are unable to reach an agreement, a Section 60I certificate is issued, enabling an application to be made to the Court.

Family Dispute Resolution is considerably less expensive than other options available to families, such as legal proceedings.

Our fees are reasonable and we can accommodate your needs including after hours and weekend appointments where necessary.