How to Become a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

By Relationships Australia

A career as a Family Dispute Resolution practitioner is centred around helping families in need. It’s worthwhile and rewarding work that allows you to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a way to jointly deal with and resolve the complex issues of children, finances and property when a marriage or long-term relationship comes to an end.

Relationships Australia NSW runs a Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution in partnership with Relationships Australia Victoria that will provide you with a nationally accredited qualification, so you can take the next step in your career.

What does a Family Dispute Resolution practitioner do?

An FDR practitioner’s role is to help resolve disputes over issues such as debt identification and property settlements, as well as helping parties make ongoing parenting agreements that will maximise the long-term wellbeing of any children involved.

FDR practitioners work with families to assess their suitability for the FDR process, manage the intake of clients, and work with the families through the FDR process from beginning to end, ensuring it’s tailored to their clients’ circumstances and requirements.

“Relationships Australia NSW’s mediation service provided invaluable help to me in resolving a dispute with my former partner. Apart from helping me resolve a few issues with my ex, they provided sound advice on how we should both work together in the interests of our two lovely kids. They were incredibly supportive in helping me set a more constructive tone in our relationship. We did not agree to everything during the process, but have since. 
Relationships Australia NSW was the turning point in helping my ex and I develop a good working relationship, and provided practical support and excellent advice in helping me navigate from treacherous to more tranquil waters.”

– Scott R, Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) client

How do I become an FDR practitioner?

To become a qualified FDR practitioner, you’ll need to meet the accreditation standards outlined in the Australian Government’s Family Law (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners) Regulations 2008. These accreditation standards include areas such as screening and assessing families for family violence and child abuse.

The regulations also require you to undertake relevant study, to equip you with the relevant skills and knowledge. Our Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution will arm you with the knowledge and skills needed to register as an FDR practitioner with the Federal Attorney General.

The course provides you with the skills you’ll need to provide specialist support and guidance to families struggling to manage disputes.

What are the requirements to study Family Dispute Resolution?

To be eligible to study our graduate diploma, you must meet at least one of the following entry requirements:

  • You have a degree or higher qualification in psychology, social work, law, conflict management, dispute resolution, family law mediation or equivalent.
  • You are an accredited mediator under the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS). This accreditation shows you have met training and competence standards and have the skills and knowledge required to undertake our graduate diploma.
  • You have successfully completed the mediation skill set from the Community Services Training Package (CHC). This qualification provides you with specialist qualifications to support the practice of mediation and co-mediation.
  • You have relevant work experience in a dispute resolution environment. This work experience should be in a dispute resolution environment where knowledge, judgement and decision-making skills are required.

Once you have been deemed eligible in one of these areas, you can apply to our Graduate Diploma of FDR.

How long is the Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution and what does it cost?

The Graduate Diploma of FDR runs for 12 months, over the course of two semesters.

In the first semester, you’ll gain the required skills through online learning modules, live and recorded webinars and blocked face-to-face skills workshops, along with a field trip.

During semester two, you’ll undertake a fully arranged, supported and supervised 50-hour work placement in a service providing FDR to clients. Each student is matched with a centre and accredited FDRP supervisor. You’ll attend five half-day placement seminars which provide students with the opportunity to present and discuss cases.

You’ll also need to conduct additional reading and research in preparation for your assessments.

The course costs $13,390 and instalment options are available.

What are the employment opportunities for Family Dispute Resolution practitioners?

The Federal Government estimates that the demand for workers with counselling qualifications will grow strongly between 2021 to 2026.

Graduates of a Graduate Diploma of FDR will be qualified to work in a number of community sector practitioner and management roles, including as a Family Dispute Resolution practitioner (FDRP) or Mediator.

Apply to become an accredited Family Dispute Resolution practitioner

Once you’ve completed your Graduate Diploma qualification, you can apply for your accreditation.

To receive your accreditation, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Appropriate qualifications and competencies
  • Access to a suitable complaints mechanism that can be used by your clients
  • National police check no older than four months
  • Not be prohibited under a law of a state or territory from working with children
  • Meet the ‘working with children’ requirements in the state or territory in which you provide services, if applicable
  • Suitable to perform the functions and duties of an FDR practitioner
  • Covered by professional indemnity insurance

Why should you choose Relationships Australia NSW for the Graduate Diploma of FDR

If you’ve ever considered becoming a Family Dispute Resolution practitioner, doing so under the guidance of Relationships Australia NSW and Relationships Australia Victoria could be the best career decision you’ll ever make.

“I embarked in the Graduate Diploma Family Dispute Resolution full of uncertainties. I didn’t know what the program would be like, I wasn’t sure if mediation was for me, and I had not had any direct contact with Relationships Australia before.”
“One year later, I can say that the program has been an amazing learning journey, with fantastic coaches and a very supportive group of classmates. I was fortunate enough to find a job as an FDRP within Relationships Australia after finishing my work placement and I couldn’t be more thrilled about my new career path. I cannot recommend this program enough!”

– Jessica Casiro, RANSW Graduate

Relationships Australia NSW is an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to enhancing relationship quality, supporting relationship wellbeing, and improving our individual and collective sense of belonging.

We’ve been a sector leader in post graduate education for 40 years, and a leading provider of relationship support since 1948. We offer services to individuals, couples, families, communities and workplaces across NSW from 21 locations.

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Relationships Australia NSW will be closed from Saturday 23 December 2023 until Tuesday 2 January 2024.  

Click here for more information. 

If you are in crisis, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Relationships Australia NSW will be closed from Saturday 23 December 2023 until Tuesday 2 January 2024.  

This closure includes all local centres, head office and our customer care team. For any enquiries during this period, please email and a member of our team will be in touch as soon as we reopen.

Click here for more information. 
If you are in crisis, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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