Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)

Welcome to Aussie Divorce free online FDR practitioner Directory designed to assist you locate your nearest accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner who is, ready, willing and able to provide family mediation services - wherever you live or work, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, other Australian capital cities, major cities, metropolitan areas, country towns and regions.

There is no charge for individuals looking to find a Family Dispute Resolution practitioner using, and the website has a long history of connecting people with the services they need without the hassle.

A family dispute resolution practitioner is an independent person who can help separating parents to resolve their family issues. They look at options and work out how best to reach agreement in disputes about children and parenting matters, focusing on 'the best interests of the child'. It is important to note that they do not give legal advice but will explore general principles that apply to couples who are separating.

The law requires separating families who have a dispute about parenting arrangements to make a genuine effort to resolve that dispute by family dispute resolution before applying to a court. If after attempting family dispute resolution, an individual still wants to go to court, they will need a certificate from an accredited family dispute resolution practitioner. Section 60I of the Family Law Act 1975 (the Act).

Family dispute resolution practitioners are responsible for certifying whether or not the parties have made a genuine effort and therefore have a new role involving evaluating the performance of their clients in family dispute resolution (s60I(8)).There are some exceptions to this requirement, such as urgent cases, or situations involving family violence or child abuse.

So, can any family mediator provide this certificate and what is the difference between a mediator and an Accredited FDRP? Section 60I certificates can only be provided by accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (FDRP’s). FDRP’s are all mediators but not all mediators are FDRP’s. There are mediators who are accredited under other systems but aren’t specifically trained in family law or aren’t accredited by the Attorney-General’s department to provide the necessary certificates.

In choosing your mediator you need to ask if they are accredited FDRP’s.

What is Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)?

  • FDR is the legal term for services like mediation that assist couples going through a divorce or separation.
  • Mediation is a process in which a trained, independent and impartial person will help you isolate issues in a dispute, develop and consider options, and attempt to reach a workable agreement.

Why Try FDR?

  • It’s practical, confidential and it works!
  • If you can resolve your differences, you’ll save yourself time, money and stress!
  • Your FDR practitioner can help you look at problems in an objective and alternative way.
  • They will assist you in communicating with your partner in an open and non-confrontational manner.
  • If children are involved, the focus is on your children’s interests and needs.

Is FDR Compulsory?

From 1 July 2008 FDR became a requirement before you can apply to court for a parenting order. So, if you are getting divorced and there are children involved, you do need to go through mediation before applying to court unless:

  • You are applying for a consent order
  • You are responding to an application
  • The matter is urgent
  • There has been or is a risk of family violence or child abuse
  • A person is unable to participate effectively in mediation (due to incapacity or geographical limitations) or
  • A person has contravened and shown a serious disregard for a court order made in the last 12 months. 

If you do choose FDR, your FDR practitioner will assist in discussing issues, looking at options, testing possible solutions and working out the best agreement. However, they will also help you to identify when FDR isn’t working and can suggest other options.

What if I Don’t Have Children?

Mediation can still help you. FDR practioners are highly skilled and trained to assist you in resolving your disputes, whether it be about your children, your property or your finances. They are solution and future focused.

Who Can Provide FDR?

Only an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practioner can provide the necessary certificate in terms of the Family Law Act, 1975 so check with your mediator to ensure that they are accredited.

Who Can Attend FDR?

The people having the disagreement. A support person can be present if no-one objects and some mediators allow lawyers to be present.

Are Children Included in FDR?

No, but it can be helpful for your children to see a counsellor or child consultant. This will only be done with your consent. How does it work? Before you start FDR, your FDR practitioner will:

How Does it Work?

  • inform you about how it works, your rights, parenting plans and other services available to you;
  • conduct an assessment to see whether or not FDR is suitable for your situation.

Are the things you tell your FDR practitioner confidential?

  • Your FDR practitioner is impartial and will not take sides.
  • Everything you say in front of them is confidential – except in special circumstances such as to prevent a serious threat to someone’s life or health or to prevent the commission of a crime.
  • Anything said in FDR cannot be used in court. However, an FDR practitioner is obliged to report child abuse or if a child is at risk of abuse and this may be used as evidence in certain circumstances.

Agreements Reached in FDR

  • Any agreement you reach can be recorded. It should be in writing, dated and signed by both parties.
  • Your agreement (or parenting plan if it revolves around children) can be renegotiated over time.
  • There are particular rules relating to child support agreements. Your FDRP will give you some information about this.
  • If you want it to be legally binding, you can apply to court to have it made a consent order. You can do this yourself or ask a lawyer to do it for you.

What if FDR doesn’t work?

  • The process of mediation may still assist you and your former partner in learning to communicate better.
  • If you can’t reach agreement and still need to go to court regarding the children, you will need a certificate from a registered FDR practitioner to say that you made a genuine effort.
  • If you do not attend FDR or do not make a genuine effort, this can affect the timing of your court hearing and it can effect the court’s decisions on court costs.


It is important that you feel safe during FDR and at home. Please inform your mediator immediately if you are concerned for your safety or the safety of your children.


Mediators have different rates and the one you select will go through these with you.

Section 60I of the Family Law Act 1975 (the Act) as amended by the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006 provides that all persons who have a dispute about children (under Part VII of the Act) must make a genuine effort to resolve that dispute by family dispute resolution before they can litigate