I’m separating from my partner, but don’t want to go to court. What is the alternative?
Separating from your partner is stressful, particularly when you have children together and own a house and other assets together. We recommend resolving the matter as quickly as possible through an approach that can assist in preventing parties from going to court. This process is called Family Dispute Resolution and is also known as Mediation.
In life, people change, people want different things and they grow apart. At DA Family Lawyers, we view separating from your partner as not a time for despair but an opportunity for a clean start at living life – the way you envision it.
It’s very common that separating couples stay in close communications and carry the ability to be civil and reasonable toward each other. In these cases, going to court is not a preferable option, or necessary.
This is also the view of the Australian Family Law System, which encourages parents to try and seek suitable outcomes regarding their children and the matrimonial property, outside of the courtroom. The most cost effective and functional way of reaching an agreement in the family law industry is via the services of a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.
What is Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)?
Family Dispute Resolution is a form of mediation that facilitates and enables a separating couple to reach an agreement relating to children, property and finances without going to court. This is the preferred method for settling your matter as the FDR practitioner can explore options that best suit each individual’s needs and assist in developing a compromise that both parties are comfortable with. Often these possibilities may not be realised if a judge were to make a decision upon the separating couple. Alternatively, if you wish to go directly to court, FDR is a compulsory step you must take in order to initiate proceedings in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
When would Family Dispute Resolution not be appropriate?
There are certain circumstances where Family Dispute Resolution would not be appropriate to occur. These include;
- Any history or risk of domestic violence
- Inability to attend due to location
- Matters of great urgency
- Applications for consent
- You are responding to an application
What are the benefits of Family Dispute Resolution?
Presuming both parties are open to discuss and negotiate matters through FDR, the benefits far outweigh that of going to court. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in the presence of the other party, you can elect to attend the mediation by way of telephone call or “shuttle” where the FDR practitioner will coordinate and facilitate the mediation while the parties are in two separate rooms. The benefit of this is that you can say what you need to say without the added pressure of facing the other party.
Everything that is discussed with the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner is completely confidential and unable to be used as evidence in court. The only case where a FDR practitioner would use this information would to be to protect one’s life or if a child is at risk of abuse or harm.
What happens if Family Dispute Resolution doesn’t work?
The purpose of a Family Dispute Resolution being accompanied by a practitioner is to help the parties communicate in a way that is directed toward settling the dispute. In the event that the Family Dispute Resolution process cannot reach an agreement, a certificate will be issued by the FDR practitioner to allow the parties the option of filing for court proceedings so the matter can be heard and a decision made by a judge in court.
How do I start the FDR process?
To start the FDR process, contact DA Family Lawyers Brisbane to make an appointment with our experienced Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Deborah Awyzio. Deborah will then make an assessment to verify whether FDR is the most appropriate process to suitably settle your separation dispute while walking you through the FDR process, step by step.