Separate smarter: We have partially agreed

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Where it is safe to do so, you can take ownership of your dispute. Whether you agree, partially agree or don’t agree at all. You can mediate at any stage, as many times as you need. It is time we started thinking differently about family law disputes.

It is usually best for everyone involved if you come to your own agreement after separation.

If you have been able to agree on some things, that is great news. It shows that both you and your former partner should find dispute resolution a helpful way to settle any final issues.

If it is safe to do so, keep talking.

What are the last issues to resolve?

Often you can agree on most of the decisions that need to be made, as well as issues that evolve after separation. But sometimes, there is an issue or a few final points that you just can’t agree on. This is where family dispute resolution (FDR) can help.

You can prepare for FDR by trying to narrow the list of issues in dispute. If you can identify which ones are minor and which are major issues, this will really help you get the most out of dispute resolution. For many separated families, minor issues fall into place if the bigger decisions can be worked out with some assistance.

How do you arrange FDR?

There is information on this website about the different types of dispute resolution that is available. There are also other support services available outside the Court.

FDR is offered through Family Relationship Centres, which are funded by the federal government.  The fees are modest and vary depending on your circumstances. Family Relationship Centres offer FDR and family counselling services, as well as a number of other services that might assist in either supporting you or helping you to resolve disputes.

If you already have proceedings underway in the Court, you may be referred to court-based FDR.

While you may have already tried other dispute resolution options, it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying again. The opportunity to try again to resolve matters by agreement, with the assistance of a registrar of the Court, can be particularly helpful once the issues that might have previously made negotiating difficult have been addressed. You can, and should, mediate at any stage, as many times as you need.

What do you do when you cannot agree?

If you really can’t agree, after making genuine attempts to resolve your issues in dispute, you can make an application to the Court. But remember, if you can agree on some things, you should inform the Court about that when you seek orders for the matters you are not able to agree on.

Before you can file an application to start parenting and/or financial proceedings there are pre-action requirements you must follow. See We cannot agree for more information.