Family breakdown can be traumatic. Emotions run high and people sometimes behave in ways they might not usually. Disputes become wars and often children are the casualty.
Finding a civilised and respectful way of dealing with your partner about financial and parenting matters after separation benefits the whole family. With the assistance of our mediators, parents can see ‘what is possible’ in their communication with each other. Children get positive impressions and good role modelling from parents who can learn how to communicate constructively about their futures. Mediation about family matters reduces stress, anxiety and legal costs. It ensures parties don’t get caught up in litigation.
The Family Court and the Federal Magistrates Court have always encouraged parties to settle their disputes in ways other than by going to court. There’s now a formal process called Family Dispute Resolution. A Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (‘FDRP’) is an independent, qualified and accredited specialist who can help parties to discuss issues, develop options and come up with an agreement about issues affecting their children or property or money.
From July 1 2008, parties cannot go to court for parenting orders without an FDRP’s certificate. To get that certificate, they need to satisfy the FDRP that they have made a genuine attempt to resolve their dispute.
There are increasingly long waiting lists to see FDRPs at government-funded Family Relationship Centres. Often by the time an appointment is available, the problem has escalated and the situation is much more serious. We offer early appointments at flexible times.
Deborah Forsyth is a registered FDRP. She has had many years’ experience dealing with the impact of relationship breakdown on children and can assist parties to find practical, sensible ways to manage their ongoing relationships with their children and each other. She also has a comprehensive understanding of the law relating to property settlements and other financial matters arising from the breakdown of a relationship.