Who It's For

It's compulsory under Australian family law for separated parents to try Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) before applying to a family law court for parenting orders. There are exceptions, such as where FDR will be unsafe or unsuitable, if there's been violence in the relationship, or one or both parents are unable to participate.

How We Help

Family Dispute Resolution offers a safe and impartial space to help you make decisions in the best interests of your children. We can also help you navigate property and financial mediation, establish child-focused parenting agreements, and manage changing family dynamics through this challenging time.

What to Expect

Our highly trained staff will have several conversations with you individually first to check whether FDR is right for you and your family. Initial consultation sessions are usually 30 minutes, and we’ll work with you to plan a session at a time and location that suits your needs.

What is Family Dispute Resolution? 

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR), sometimes also known as family mediation, is a practical way for separating or separated partners to try and resolve disagreements, and make arrangements for the future. It’s a way of jointly working through decisions in relation to your children, finances and property after your relationship has ended. 

Read our comprehensive guide here >>

We can support you with:

Help with making decisions on matters relating to children
Property and financial mediation
Family law information and referrals
Providing referrals to help support children through separation
Post-separation workshops for parents and children
Domestic and family violence screening and referrals
Lawyer-assisted family dispute resolution
Close Expand Collapse
Find a location near you
Close Expand Collapse
Enquire now
Close Expand Collapse


Once you’ve made the decision to separate, it can be confusing and overwhelming to know what to do next. We welcome you to contact Relationships Australia NSW to help guide you through this process, and put you in contact with the services that you may need. We can help you determine the approach that’s most suitable for your unique situation. We also encourage all clients to seek their own legal advice.
If you are separating and you have children, and your partner refuses or fails to participate in the FDR process, then our Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner may issue you with a 60i certificate. This then enables you to apply to the Court for parenting orders. If you are separating and do not have children, and your case involves only property or financial matters, we recommend that you seek legal advice if the other party does not wish to participate in FDR.
The first session with your FDR Practitioner is called a Pre-mediation assessment. This is an individual session between yourself and your assigned practitioner for 1.5 hours. The purpose of this session is to determine whether Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is appropriate for your situation, and whether it is likely to achieve the outcomes each party want. We’ll consider the parties involved, the issues you present, and the proposed timing of FDR.
In some cases it can be agreed by both the FDR Practitioner (mediator) and the other party for other people to be present during mediation sessions including lawyers or support persons, however, this needs to be discussed and negotiated ahead of time. Please talk to your Family Advisor or FDR Practitioner if you would like to consider these options.
After you make an enquiry about mediation, our staff will conduct a screening process. This is to find out more about you, your ex-partner, and how safe your situation is. If mediation isn’t suitable or safe for you, we can provide you with a Section 60I certificate. We can also refer you to other services that can provide you with support, such as counselling, behaviour change programs, and domestic violence support groups.

Related Services & Workshops

Children’s Contact Service

Tailored Services.Families.Domestic Violence

Children’s Contact Service

The Children’s Contact Service provides a safe, neutral and child-focused environment for families to build and maintain meaningful relationships while staff supervise and monitor interactions.

Parenting Orders Program

Tailored Services.Families.Conflict

Parenting Orders Program

Separation and divorce can be one of the most stressful and significant life changes for anyone to go through – Stay focused on your children's needs with support from our Parenting Orders Program.

Access Family Mediation Service


Access Family Mediation Service

Adapting to change during separation and divorce is challenging. This service provides flexible support, online or over the phone, to help manage relationship breakdowns, including resolving disputes for parenting and property arrangements.

Supporting Your Relationship Wellbeing

Discover the latest from our Knowledge Hub.

How to Manage Separation or Divorce

Article.Families.Domestic Violence

How to Manage Separation or Divorce

Ending a relationship is a very stressful event in anyone’s life. You may be feeling a confusing range of painful ...

What Is Family Dispute Resolution and Mediation?

Video.Families.Divorce + Separation

What Is Family Dispute Resolution and Mediation?

Changes to the family due to a relationship breakdown or separation can be confusing, stressful and emotional. But Family Dispute ...

How to Negotiate a Property Settlement After Divorce or Separation

Article.Individuals.Divorce + Separation

How to Negotiate a Property Settlement After Divorce or Separation

Property settlement after a divorce or separation is often a complex and emotional process. Many liabilities and assets are acquired ...

Join Our Newsletter
Skip to content