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The 'best interests of the children' is the guiding principle of the Family Court. If separating couples wish to avoid the long and costly court process they can use the alternative of Family Dispute Resolution (FDR), formerly called family mediation or divorce mediation. In FDR, the situation of the children is central and the couple are encouraged and supported through the decision-making process to make the most appropriate arrangements. Situations where there has been abuse and violence require careful assessment before proceeding, as safety becomes the main factor.
Apart from FDR, Relationships Australia Victoria can also provide assistance through ordinary counselling sessions in which our counsellors can support parents deal with any emotional conflicts arising from separation.
As well, we offer group work and post separation parenting courses (including some for court-mandated clients). Individual mums and dads come together with others in similar situations to share their experiences and learn skills to help them work with their new realities. Skills in shared parenting and management of conflict are strong features of the group work.
Find out more about Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) services.
Find out more about Counselling services.
Search for Post Separation Parenting Courses in our list of upcoming Relationship Skills courses.
If you have a background in law, psychology, social work or dispute resolution and you are interested in a career in the expanding FDR field, view our Professional Training.
Our booklets can be very helpful as a starting point in this process. They 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 & Separation" for migrant men, available in English and Arabic.
A Parenting Plan is a resource to help separating parents work out arrangements for the care of their children. The checklist of questions will help you fill out the Parenting Plan.
This brochure explains the value of consulting your children during the family dispute resolution process.