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What is Court-based Family Dispute Resolution?

What is Court-based Family Dispute Resolution?

Friday 18th of March 2022
By: Alisha Edwards, Senior Associate and Accredited Specialist in Family Law, Coote Family Lawyers

Right from the first meeting you gave me a great deal of confidence.

The Court has ordered that I attend a Court-based FDR conference.  What is it?

One of the new initiatives of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia is Court-based Family Dispute Resolution (“Court-based FDR”). 

Court-based FDR will be ordered by the Court where it is safe for parties to engage in negotiations about their family law dispute. The Court can order that you attend a Court-based FDR conference at any time during the proceedings.

During a Court-based FDR conference, parties will be assisted by a Judicial Registrar of the Court who will work with both parties to reach agreement and hopefully, resolve matters on a final basis. The Registrar cannot make decisions during the conference. In parenting matters, a Child Court Expert may also join the Registrar in order to provide guidance as to the appropriateness of any parenting proposals being made. If you have had a Child Impact Report or Family Report prepared in your matter, the Child Court Expert who participates in your Court-based FDR conference will be different to the Child Court Expert who prepared your Report.

Court-based FDR conferences can take place over a full day or half a day and can occur in person or over Microsoft Teams / by telephone. Court-based FDR conferences are confidential, unless a threat of harm is made. This means that you can feel free to make offers and proposals without having to worry that a judge will find out what you have said at a later date.

There are two parts to a Court-based FDR conference. They are:

Part 1 – The Registrar will have a confidential telephone call with you and your lawyer if you have one. The telephone call will take about 45 minutes and will be an opportunity for you to meet the Registrar who will be conducting the conference. The Registrar will explain the process and you will have an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.

Part 2 – This will be when a substantive part of the Court-based FDR conference will take place. There will be some opening remarks by the Registrar and Child Court Expert and then the negotiations will begin. If agreement can be reached, the terms of the settlement will be documented. The Registrar can make either interim or final Orders by consent.

Call now to speak with one of Melbourne's top family lawyers on03 9804 0035or at our new Mornington Peninsula office on03 5927 5010.


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