Most people who go through separation and divorce find it a difficult and painful experience. For couples and families, the decision to separate means that important and often stressful decisions have to be made about the future. That’s where family dispute resolution, also known as mediation, can help.
The Uniting family dispute resolution service can help you resolve separation matters in a way that’s less stressful and more affordable for you. We can help you reach agreements about:
- Where your children will live
- The amount of time your children will spend with each parent
- Who will be involved in parental decision making
- Child support arrangements
- Property settlement or division of assets
- Interim financial arrangements
- Any other concerns or issues your family may have.
Initial information session
An initial one-on-one meeting with each party, either in person or on the phone, will help prepare you for family dispute resolution and clarify the issues and concerns that need to be resolved.
Dispute resolution sessions
Dispute resolution sessions are a chance to get the separated parties together for a productive conversation. You’ll both get to have your say on key issues, and agreements will be negotiated and reached.
If your relationship has reached a point where communication has completely broken down, you also have the option to attend in-person sessions in separate rooms or locations, with the family dispute resolution practitioner acting as an intermediary between you.
Dispute resolution sessions generally last from two to three hours and more than one session may be required to allow enough time for all parties to make considered decisions.
Family Dispute Resolution certificate
The Family Law Act requires parties attempt to resolve disputes before applying to court for Parenting Orders. We can provide the certificate the court needs to demonstrate you have attempted family dispute resolution. You will not need a certificate in circumstances of urgency or family violence or where there would be a risk of abuse of a child in the event of a delay.
Your child’s best interest should be the first consideration in any decision that may affect them. Where appropriate, our practitioners may recommend that your children get the chance to give input as part of the family dispute resolution process.
With your permission, your children will sit down with a specialist child consultant who will then share the children’s views with both parents at the next dispute resolution session.
For some children, the opportunity to talk with an independent professional can be very therapeutic and may also assist parents and families to make the best decisions for the children involved.
Uniting counsellor and family dispute resolution practitioners are highly experienced professionals with tertiary qualifications in law, psychology or social work and are also accredited or authorised with the Australian Government Attorney General’s Department.
We also offer other post-separation services including counselling, therapy groups, the Keeping Contact Program (which aims to minimise the harmful impact of conflict on a family), and the Anchor Program (which supports children after separation).
Get in touch
Our customer service team is available from Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 6.00pm AEST.