Family Law: Parenting Agreements
Changes have been made to the family law system to encourage separating parents to develop cooperative parenting solutions without going to court. Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a practical way for separating families to try to resolve any disagreements and make arrangements for the future.
Some of these law changes include requirements to gain a Family Dispute Resolution Certificate, 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. Situations involving family violence, child abuse or extremely urgent matters are exempt from Family Dispute Resolution. Read more about the Family Law Court Compulsory FDR here.
What is Family Dispute Resolution?
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a way of jointly dealing with the complex issues of children, finances and property, when a marriage or long term relationship comes to an end. FDR facilitates conversations around sensitive matters, to assist people to develop their own agreements. A key part of this FDR process is formulating a parenting plan, setting out the agreed future parenting arrangements.
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (FDRPs) provide clients with support to sort out issues and develop mutually satisfactory, workable agreements. This process often reduces the need for stressful, expensive court hearings, and also helps keep legal costs to a minimum.
What is the Family Dispute Resolution process?
The Family Dispute Resolution process involves:
- identifying issues to be resolved
- both parties listening to each other without interruption
- sharing relevant information
- exploring ideas and options
- testing possible solutions
- putting decisions and workable agreements in writing.
Benefits of Family Dispute Resolution
The benefits of Family Dispute Resolution include:
- saving in money and time as FDR is less costly and faster than the court process
- promotion of cooperation and communication to enhance the ongoing parenting relationship
- providing a structure in which future disputes can be resolved more readily
- maintaining the individual’s control in the decision-making process as there are no imposed decisions
- less stress or trauma than court proceedings
- more effective conflict resolution and greater longevity, as people are less likely to breach agreements that they have made themselves.
How do FDRPs help?
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (FDRPs) are highly-skilled, qualified mediators from a variety of professional backgrounds, such as; law, psychology and social work. Practitioners have the skills and knowledge to help separating parties make decisions that result from their situation. FDRPs are trained in resolving disputes relating to families, children, finance or property matters.
FDRPs 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. They are impartial and fair to both parties; focused on the future, and on helping the parties resolve their dispute. The FDR process is confidential, within the limits of the law.
How to become an FDRP?
Being employed as an FDRP is interesting, worthwhile, and challenging work. Being an FDRP complements family law practice, or assists a transition into mediation practice. To be the impartial third party facilitating discussion, rather than acting on behalf of one side, can be an exciting change for law professionals.
This nationally recognised qualification offered by Relationships Australia Professional Training (RAPT) NSW is delivered in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Social Relations (RTO 102358). It is suitable to those with an undergraduate degree or higher qualification holders in relevant areas. Some other accreditations or prior learning/experience of applicants are also recognised.
The Institute helps prepare you for the FDRP role with 50 hours of mandatory work placement, for eligible students, within Relationships Australia Family Relationship Centres.