People who wish to go to court to resolve disputes in relation to their children (parenting matters) are required to first attend Family Dispute Resolution/mediation, and make a 'genuine effort' to resolve their disputes. Some exceptions to this requirement apply - for example, in situations involving family violence or child abuse, or in urgent matters. We provide Family Dispute Resolution with a focus on redressing imbalances of power, safety, and the best interests of children.
Parenting plans or agreements may be made in the Family Dispute Resolution process.
We also offer child-inclusive and enhanced child-focused Family Dispute Resolution. These services recognise the importance of focusing on the needs of children during and after separation, and the value of consulting them during Family Dispute Resolution.
If you have separated from your partner, you may have to ask yourself the following questions:
It's a lot to think about and there are different ways to go about dividing property and finances following separation. Settling a property dispute through court litigation can be a challenging process. There are often extensive legal costs, long waits to reach court and significant stress and anxiety around the potential outcomes and process of going to court.
Property mediation is often a quicker, more affordable alternative to litigation. It is:
In most property cases filed in the family law courts, a settlement is negotiated before the case goes to trial. This means that the two people agree to a settlement before a judge is needed to make a decision. Mediation can help couples to reach an agreement earlier in the process and without starting court proceedings.
Before mediation begins, you and your former partner each attend an individual assessment to make sure that property mediation is appropriate.
Another option to settle your property and financial disputes is to use legally-assisted property mediation.
This enables you to participate in property mediation and negotiate a settlement with your lawyer present to provide legal support. Lawyers can assist by clarifying details, drafting agreements, helping them to prepare and exchange information and documents, and provide advice.
More information on legally-assisted property mediation is available here.
We also offer a number of other services for separating couples, including education, information, counselling, conciliation and group work.
Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) has produced two free booklets to help men and women who are going through separation and divorce. The booklets have been developed to provide accessible and useful information and emotional support for those entering this period of complex considerations about the best ways forward.
There is also a copy of the booklet - Men and Separation - for migrant men, available in English and Arabic.
There is also a booklet available that encourages separating parents to consider the best interests of their children during the separation process.