Family Dispute Resolution – Regulation 28

Information prior to attending FDR

– Family Law (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners) Regulations 2008 – Regulation 28

A brief description of FDR

The law requires separating families who have a dispute about children to make a genuine effort to try to sort it out through family dispute resolution (FDR) before filing an application for parenting orders in court.

This requirement applies to anyone wanting to file an application with a family law court. It also includes those seeking changes to an existing parenting order. There are a few exceptions to this requirement, such as cases involving family violence, child abuse or urgency.

Unless an exemption applies, parties seeking to have a parenting matter determined by a family law court will need to file a certificate from an accredited FDR practitioner. The certificate is issued under Section 60I of the Family Law Act 1975 and is commonly known as a Section 60I Certificate.

Role of the FDRP

A family dispute resolution (FDR) practitioner is an independent person who helps people affected by separation or divorce to resolve their parenting disputes.

Practitioners provide information to clients to understand the important elements of FDR.

In summary

  • That it is not the role of the FDR practitioner to give people legal advice (unless the FDR practitioner is also a legal practitioner).
  • That FDR must be attended before applying for an order in relation to a child, unless an exception applies.
  • That if a person wants to apply to the court for an order in relation to a child they will need to obtain a certificate from the FDR practitioner before applying, unless an exception applies.
  • That a court may take into account the certificate when deciding whether to make an order referring the people to FDR or to award costs against a person.

Fact-sheet-FDR-practitioner-obligations-to-clients – Updated January 2018, Australian Government, Attorney General’s Department

  • Further information on additional issues of reconciliation, Family violence or child abuse, parenting plans is provided in Fact sheet cited above.