The FRC assists families affected by separation to come to child focused parenting arrangements in the best interests of their children. Families are supported in discussing issues and reaching agreement through family dispute resolution rather than having to attend court. Property Dispute Resolution is also offered as an alternative to the court process to resolve property settlements.
Also offered is the Jigsaw Programme for children from separated families and counselling sessions for parents for issues related to separation and conflict.
We help you with information and support through all stages of your family: forming new relationships, overcoming relationship difficulties or dealing with separation. If you are experiencing separation, we help you focus on your children’s needs through mediation and the Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) process.
What is Family Dispute Resolution?
The Federal Government introduced Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) to encourage parents to attempt to agree on arrangements for their children without having to attend court. The FDR practitioner (FDRP) will assist parents to discuss issues, explore options and work out the best way to reach an agreement. In comparison to litigation, the FDR process is more viable, less expensive and minimises stress for families that are separating.
What does a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) do?
The FDRP will advise and guide you through the FDR process, if necessary refer you to other family support services and inform you of our child-focused practice [and sometimes child inclusive practice] when working with parents. You will be informed of other services available to you, you will be strongly advised to obtain independent legal advice as to the FDR process and in regards to parenting plans.
An assessment is made prior to the commencement of FDR regarding whether your situation is appropriate. FDRP’s remain neutral and actively work with both sides using an unbiased and positive approach. The aim of an FDRP is to resolve issues and to ensure that all understand what is being discussed and agreed upon. The process is used to work out a parenting plan to settle on arrangements for your children. FDRP’s may suggest other options like family counselling when FDR is not effective.
The content of FDR is confidential and disclosure is mandated if it is necessary to comply with any law. The FDRP may also report to the relevant authorities to protect a child from risk of harm or to prevent a threat to life, health, property or to advise an Independent Children’s Lawyer [ICL]. What is discussed during FDR cannot be used in court for evidence; however FDRP’s must report child abuse and indications that a child is at risk of harm. In some instances this may be used as evidence.
“It’s excellent – it’s wonderful to be able to have this service rather than having to go straight to court. I am really grateful for the help and it’s like a big sigh of relief after I’ve seen you each time.”
Is FDR Compulsory?
Yes, exceptions apply please seek legal advice and go to website www.familyrelationships.gov.au
How much will each FDR cost?
The Wodonga FRC delivers up to three hours of free FDR. We may charge if further FDR is required, and fees also apply to the delivery of child-inclusive practice. Costs to a client depend upon his or her capacity to pay. For more information please view the FRC Fees Policy.
Is there a waiting list?
There may be a waiting period following the first point of contact with the FRC – please consider reading the “Advice and Tips Guide” as family separation is often a difficult and challenging time.
- It is important during family separations that focus remains on the safety and well being of children, and conflict is kept away from children.
- The purpose of the Family Dispute Resolution mediation process is for parents to take ownership of the situation and work out parenting arrangements such as contact, in the best interest of their children.