Helping couples who are separating to resolve disputes about their children and parenting.
When couples are separating, it’s not uncommon for people to be in dispute about both parenting and property matters at the same time. At Relationships Australia Victoria, we can help you to resolve conflicts about children and parenting matters, or property and financial matters - either separately or together.
Family Dispute Resolution, also known as mediation, uses a step-by-step process to help people involved to resolve their dispute and reach an agreement. With the assistance of a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (a mediator), the people involved:
Parents who want to apply to the court to resolve disputes about their children (parenting matters) need to first try Family Dispute Resolution and obtain a certificate that. This certificate is required by the Court before a parenting application can be made. All Relationships Australia Victoria's Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners are registered to provide this certificate.
There are some exceptions to the need for a certificate, such as cases involving family violence or child abuse, or if the matter is urgent. For more information, visit the Australian Government's Family Relationships Online website.
Child-Inclusive Family Dispute Resolution gives a child the opportunity to talk to a trained child consultant in a child interview about how things are going for him/her at this time of change in their lives. The child consultant then gives feedback to the parents to help them make decisions during Family Dispute Resolution about their child.
This is an opportunity for a child to talk on their own in a safe environment with a child consultant - a person trained to understand the child’s feelings and views. Children may express themselves in a variety of ways such as drawing, playing and other activities depending on the child and their age. A child is never asked to make decisions – that’s their parents’ job.
The child consultant provides feedback to parents about:
Where decisions are being made for infants or young children (under 4 years of age), a child consultant can be included in the Family Dispute Resolution process to help inform parents’ decision-making for their child’s care. This service is called Child-Enhanced Family Dispute Resolution.
More general information on Family Dispute Resolution is available here.
We offer a number of other services for people who are separating, including:
Contact us for more information on Family Dispute Resolution and how it could support you.