connectEDspace - support for young people

Young people can face all sorts of pressures – including problems at school, with friends or at home.
connectEDspace is a website by Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV), dedicated to young people to help provide all the information they need to deal with the stuff they go through each day.

Aboriginal Family and Relationship Support


RAV provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and individuals to help strengthen family relationships.

Counselling provides an opportunity to talk with a professionally trained person to discuss couple issues, conflicts with friends, relationship breakdown, parenting, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, grief, sexual problems, childhood sexual abuse, stress and work related tensions and disputes.

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Family Dispute Resolution can help separated or divorced parents to agree on living arrangements for their children and how to share parenting after separation, as well as resolve conflicts over child support and other costs.

These types of disputes are commonly called parenting matters in the family law system. We provide our Family Dispute Resolution service, also known as mediation, with a focus on safety and the best interests of children, and ensuring that both people can participate. 

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.  



What happens in Family Dispute Resolution? What is the process?

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:

  • identify the parenting issues which need to be resolved
  • are supported to communicate with each other clearly and respectfully
  • explore and discuss different ideas and options about their children
  • negotiate about these options
  • try and make agreements about some or all of the parenting issues in dispute
  • focus on the best interests of the child.

Parenting Plans may be made in the Family Dispute Resolution process. More information about Parenting Plans is provided here.

When is a certificate issued after Family Dispute Resolution?

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. 

Exceptions

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

What is Child-Inclusive Family Dispute Resolution?

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.

What is a child interview?

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.

What feedback is provided to parents?

The child consultant provides feedback to parents about: 

  • what the current situation is like for the child
  • what is going well
  • what can support the child in the future.

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.

Why choose us?

  • Affordable, practical assistance that is non-adversarial.
  • Accredited, highly-skilled and experienced mediators.
  • Support for people affected by family violence.
  • More than 70 years’ experience supporting Victorians.
  • Providers of mediation for over 35 years.
  • 10 mediation centres across Melbourne and regional Victoria.

More information 

More general information on Family Dispute Resolution is available here

Resources and other support services 

We offer a number of other services for people who are separating, including:

How do I get started?

Contact us for more information on Family Dispute Resolution and how it could support you.