Understanding the Family Dispute Resolution / Mediation Process

Conflict resolution & mediation

Guest blog post by Vicki Jackson, a family law attorney with Rockhampton family law

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a mediation process that helps families in conflict to communicate and to reach an agreement about issues related to their divorce, like child care, financial arrangements, child support and property settlement.

How It Works

In a Family Dispute Resolution/Mediation, a meeting of the parties under dispute is scheduled by a third party, who generally tends to be a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner/Mediator. The parties are presented with equal opportunity for expressing their point of view and talk about every single issue of concern in the presence of everyone. The mediator helps out every party to sort out these issues and suggest solutions which can be easily acceptable, and build agreements which can satisfy all the parties.

The decisions made under the Family Dispute Resolution are not legally binding.

The entire process of Family Dispute Resolution asks the parties to:

  • Listen to each other without any kind of interruption.
  • Make a note of issues that need resolution.
  • Share important and relevant information.
  • Look at all possible solutions.
  • Explore options and ideas.
  • Get the agreements and decisions in writing.

There are even cases where parties do not wish to speak with each other during the Family Dispute Resolution process, and where family lawyers in Rockhampton provide the clients with a shuttle telephone Family Dispute Resolution. In this process, the parties do not need to be in a same room, or even speak directly to their former partner. A family lawyer too can easily negotiate on their behalf.

Family Dispute Resolution Including Children

There are also chances that the option tin getting the children speak to a child consultant can be put into consideration. After interacting with the children, the consultant can provide feedback to their parents involved in the Family Dispute process. It helps to get an insight about the thought processes of the children that can give an idea about the parenting plan ahead.

This is a good option to work on when the involved parties agree and children are not driven under the process of repeating their stories to a lot of professionals.

Role of Family Dispute Resolution Mediators

The Family Law Dispute Practitioners/Mediators are highly experienced people who come from different professional backgrounds like law and social science. They have a lot of training for resolving disputes which relate to families.

The Mediators do not provide their clients with legal advice but try to use the general principles which are applicable to separating couples. They might provide advice related to children and matters of parenting, with the motive of keeping the best interests of children in mind.

Being impartial and even is an important aspect of the training which the Dispute Mediators receive. They command the process and not the content that is a part of the discussion. They also ensure that the process is confidential which abide by the limitations set by law. The mediators look after finding solutions and help parties resolve their disputes.

What Should Participants Expect?

The parties involved in the dispute should be prepared to follow Family Dispute Resolution process. They need to have the will enough to listen to the other party and be ready to negotiate genuinely to reach an agreement and consider a compromise.


Family Dispute Resolution has quite a number of benefits, such as:

  • Saving money and avoiding delays, as it is quicker and cheaper than a Court process.
  • Promotion of co-operation and improvement in communication, which assists in parenting and other relationships too.
  • Providing a structure where future disputes are resolved more easily.
  • Helps to keep an individual’s control in the decision-making procedure.
  • Being less stressful and traumatic than the court procedures.


The alternate options to Family Dispute Resolution/Mediation are:

  • Just doing nothing and letting the conflict grow.
  • Try to get the help of friends to resolve the dispute.
  • Seek Arbitration, that is a less formal legal procedure for resolving a dispute and heading over to the Court.
  • Ask the attorneys to have negotiations on your behalf.
  • Head over to court proceedings.
  • Not taking professional assistance, and trying to resolve it yourself.

About the Author

Vicki Jackson joined South Gerald Lawyers in 1974 under Robert South, founder of the firm. She is very experienced in Rockhampton family law and handles issues related to estate administration, disputes and estate planning as well.