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FAQs – Family Dispute Resolution

Positive Solutions has complied a list of answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about family dispute resolution. If your question was not answered here and you have been unable to find an answer please contact us.

Do I need a lawyer if I use family mediation?

Not necessarily, but we recommend that you seek independent legal advice about the issues that you are hoping to resolve through mediation. Mediators cannot give you advice and you must engage a lawyer or lawyers for an agreement to be made legally binding

What are my rights regarding my children if I have separated?

Every family’s individual situation is different so there is no standard that can be applied. Children have a right to safety and a right to have a relationship with both parents.

How many sessions will I need?

The number of joint sessions required really depends on the complexity of the issues discussed.

I want to be able to see my kids but haven't for years. Is there anything I can do?

People who find themselves in this situation can attend an intake to discuss the circumstances of loss of contact and your hopes for re-establishing a relationship. If It is appropriate, we may invite your children’s other parent into the mediation process.

What is a section 60i Certificate and what does it mean?

S60I Certificates are required by the court to indicate whether Family Dispute Resolution has been attempted or not. This is because FDR is mandatory under the Family Law act- but with some exceptions.

 The certificates define 5 categories including:

  • Refusal or failure to attend*
  • Matter inappropriate for mediation
  • Genuine effort
  • Non-genuine effort
  • Became inappropriate after commencement.

*Refusal or failure to attend may result in costs being awarded against you by the court.

You must attend an individual session with us to be able to obtain a 60I certificate.

There’s a Family Violence Order in place. Can I still attend?

You will be asked to bring a copy of your Police/ Family Violence Order to your first session so that we can ensure that we are not in breach of it if we invite the other party. The dynamics of family violence can impact people in different ways so it is important to let your mediator know how they can support you.

There are no orders in place but I have experienced family violence. How can you help me?

Mediators are trained in understanding and recognising types of family violence and the impacts FV can have on families and children. Talk to your mediator about what you have experienced and they will suggest options for keeping you safe and supporting you throughout the process.

Why can’t we go straight to mediation?

The individual sessions are designed to answer your questions, give you information about the process and importantly, to give you a chance to share your experience of the dispute without the other party present. The more the mediator understands your unique situation, the better they can assist you both.

Do grandparents have rights too?

Grandparents do have rights under the Family Law act and Positive Solutions provides the same service for parents and grandparents under Family Dispute Resolution.

I need a support person. Can my new partner come to mediation with me?

Support people are welcome to attend individual sessions and we ask them to sign a confidentiality clause and to refrain from having verbal input into the session. We need the permission of both parties for support people to attend the joint session.

What does confidentiality actually mean?

Confidentiality means that whatever is discussed in individual sessions is between you are your practitioner. However, mediators are mandated notifiers so if something is disclosed that constitutes threat of harm to a child or an adult, they have a duty of care to report it.