Griffith Counselling

Family Dispute Resolution

Family Dispute Resolution is a process by which people who are in conflict can be supported to communicate with each other about what is important for them and how to make decisions relevant to resolving their dispute.

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is now compulsory, meaning that people who wish to resolve disputes relevant to their children (parenting matters), are now required to attend Family Dispute Resolution and make a genuine effort to resolve issues, before they progress through the court system. Situations involving family violence, child abuse or extremely urgent matters are exempt from Family Dispute Resolution.

Family Dispute Resolution Certificates are required if you want to apply to the court for a parenting order. The certificate confirms that a genuine attempt at Family Dispute Resolution was made.

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners provide clients with support to sort out issues and develop acceptable solutions, that potentially lead to mutually satisfactory agreements.

The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed.

– Carl Jung

The family dispute resolution process involves:

  • identifying the issues which need to be resolved
  • both parties listening to each other's point of view without interruption
  • sharing relevant information
  • exploring ideas and options
  • testing possible solutions
  • putting decisions and agreements in writing

The role of family dispute resolution practitioners

Family Dispute Resolution practitioners are highly-skilled people from a variety of professional backgrounds, such as law and social sciences. They are trained in resolving disputes relating to families, children, finance or property matters.

Family Dispute Resolution practitioners can work alone or with another practitioner. They do not give legal advice but will explore general principles that apply to couples who are separating. They may give advice in relation to children and parenting matters, focusing on the best interests of the child.

Family Dispute Resolution practitioners are impartial and fair to both parties. The are focused on the future and on helping the parties resolve their dispute. The process is confidential, within the limits of the law.

What you can expect?

Family Dispute Resolution is facilitated by an independent third party. The decisions made are not legally binding. Everyone gets the opportunity to express their point of view and are free to talk about issues of concern, with everyone present. Participants must be willing to listen to the other party, be genuinely ready to compromise and committed to reaching a solution. Participants must also be prepared to follow the process.

Family dispute resolution has many benefits including:

  • a saving in money and time as it is less costly and faster than the court process
  • the promotion of co-operation and communication, which enhances the ongoing parenting relationship
  • the provision of a structure in which future disputes can be resolved more readily
  • the individual's control in the decision-making process is maintained as there are no imposed decisions
  • less stress or trauma than court proceedings
  • a more effective means of conflict resolution and greater longevity as people are less likely to breach agreements that they have made themselves.
The alternatives to Family Dispute Resolution are to seek Arbitration (a less formal legal alternative than going to court), instruct lawyers to negotiate agreements on your behalf, commence court proceedings or resolve the issues directly yourselves.

Conflict Resolution and Family Matters

Family matters such as separation and divorce are emotional and stressful times for all parties, particularly where children are involved. Parties may experience a range of emotions from anger, frustration, grief, guilt, resentment, rejection, helplessness, bitterness, sadness, failure, pain and a sense of loss. Litigation can prolong and accelerate these range of emotions and anguish suffered for all parties, children, friends and relatives. It can create an unhealthy environment.

What Family Mediation by Experts can Address?

Mediation brings parties together to discuss issues in a non-adversarial, respectful way and to explore options around the issues, foster better communication and find positive strategies of outcomes and change as part of resolution of the issues. The parties are given the opportunity to address issues of conflict that have arisen in a safe, comfortable setting. The mediation process assists the parties to work on their differences without going to court. The Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner who facilitates the mediation process is neutral and impartial.

Family Issues that can be Addressed at Family Mediation

  • Care and Arrangements with Childrena saving
  • Accommodation
  • Division of Marital Property
  • Defacto Relationships
  • Child Support
  • Family Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Communication
  • Involvement of new partners

Child Inclusive Mediation

What is Child Inclusive Practice?

Child Inclusive Practice involves children from four years of age & up to be included in the mediation process by meeting with a qualified Child Consultant. The Child Consultant meets with your child to gain an understanding of how the separation affects them through age and stage appropriate play and discussion. The Child Consultant will also meet with the parents where, with your child’s permission, their views and feelings will be conveyed and considered .

What is the process for Child Inclusive Practice?


You will have a private intake session with a mediator who will explain the mediation process , discuss your parenting issues and options for support for your children.


Once you and your ex-partner have each had a private intake session, your mediator will arrange a mediation session where you, your ex-partner and two mediators will meet. At this session your mediators will discuss Child Inclusive or Child Focussed practice, if considered safe or appropriate. Your mediators will arrange for our administration team to contact you and make a time for your child/children to come to Positive Solutions for an appointment with our Child Consultant.

Child Consult Session:

Before you bring your children to Positive Solutions for their child consult session, our Child Consultant will contact you. When you bring your child/ren to their Child Consult appointment, each child will spend approximately one hour with our Child Consultant in our children's counselling room.

One-hour child feedback session:

After the session your child/ren have with our Child Consultant, our mediators will schedule a time for both parents to meet with them and our Child Consultant. During this session, our Child Consultant will provide feedback as to how your child/ren are coping with the separation and provide you with any key messages your child/ren would like you to know.

Family Issues that can be Addressed at Family Mediation

  • Gives your child/children a voice where they are able to safely express their thoughts and feelings on how the separation affects them
  • Assists your child/children with their post separation journey
  • Allows your child/children to inform a decision making process without placing the burden of decision making on them
  • Helps parents to understand and consider their child’s/children’s position and supports the parents to be the best that they can be
  • Ensures that the Mediation process is focussed on the best interests of the child/children

Our Counselling Services

Couples and Family


At The Counselling, Mediation & Relationship Centre, we recognize and know exactly how to deal with pain in a relationship and we have the professional tools to do it. We can help you regain closeness, passion, fun and get back that feeling of being ‘in love’.

Counselling can help a couple to:

  • Understand the relationship they currently share and how they feel about each other
  • Rediscover why they were attracted in the first place
  • Find out what they want from their relationship and from each other
  • Consider how both parties contribute to the current relationship
  • Identify what they are prepared to do to make the relationship work.

Counsellors don’t make judgements on who is right or wrong; they don’t tell clients what to do; and they don’t try to persuade people to stay together or to separate.

You’ll get tools and strategies to break destructive patterns, deal with old resentments and move towards a more supportive and intimate relationship. You will discover new ways to communicate and that will help you communicate more effectively with your partner, children, friends and colleagues.

Through couples relationship training we will work with you in a safe and constructive manner, so you both get to say what’s really going on for you.

If breaking up is what you need, we can help you identify and manage the process to minimise damage and help you heal and move on.

Couples and Family


Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) offers MEDIATION services that help couples affected by separation and divorce to resolve their parenting and property dispute.

Mediation is a structured problem solving process designed to assist parties to make independent decisions.

With the assistance of the mediator, parties identify the relevant issues in dispute, and explore options with a view to negotiating a mutually agreed outcome.

FDR is not only about resolving conflict it can help prevent conflict. If you know you will need to negotiate arrangements, especially as children grow and routines change, you can arrange to discuss this at FDR.

FDR is available not only for parents but also for grandparents or other family members who wish to make arrangements to have contact in the family.

We can help you identify what’s causing your unhappiness- so you feel at can understand it. Then we can give you strategies to deal with it. Practical, realistic strategies that give you some control.

We’ll provide feedback and insights on anything that might be holding you back, such as patterns or influences you no longer need.