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What is the difference between Mediation and Family Dispute Resolution?

Family Dispute Resolution is a form of mediation. To be able to work with families and conduct Family Dispute Resolution the practitioner requires qualifications in not just Mediation but also in Family Dispute Resolution.

It is a speciality area that requires knowledge in domestic and family violence, the Family Law Act, relationship power dynamics, the impact of conflict on children and how to conduct mediation with a child focus. There are also certain legal obligations that a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner must adhere to.

A Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner is required to be accredited with the Attorney Generals Department and meet their qualification standards.

What is the process of Mediation?

Generally there are two stages to the Mediation process:

The first stage is Intake;

This is a one on one appointment with the Mediator, both parties attend an individual Intake appointment to assist the Mediator to make an assessment of suitability for mediation, to have an understanding of the previous and current relationships between all significant parties and to assist the clients in preparing for mediation.

The second stage is Mediation;

There are several ways this can be conducted, some of these include:

    • Joint mediation where the parties and the Mediator are all in the same room.
    • Shuttle mediation, where the Parties are in separate rooms and the Mediator goes between the rooms facilitating the discussion and negotiations.
    • Legally assisted mediation, where the clients Lawyer’s attend the mediation and assist their clients by providing in the moment advice regarding their situation and the negotiations.

There is also the option of telephone and online mediation in all of the above forms.

​In certain circumstances Child Informed Mediation may also be an option. This is a process whereby the children speak to a qualified Child Consultant and the Child Consultant attends the mediation on the children’s behalf and assists the parents to consider their children’s views when negotiating.

What are Section 60(i) Certificates?
Section 60(i) Certificates are a requirement in the Family Law Act 1975 and inform the Court that the parties have attempted to resolve their dispute regarding the children prior to attending Court. An accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner can provide a Section 60(i) Certificate at the completion of your case regardless of the outcome. There are 5 different certificates that can be issued and your Mediator will discuss these with you and will provide you with the most appropriate certificate for your circumstances. Ideally clients will hopefully be able to resolve their dispute in mediation and not need to go to Court, however in certain circumstances attending Court may be the only way to get a resolution.

​Please note that Section 60(i) Certificates are only valid for 12 months from your last attendance or attempt at Family Dispute Resolution and can not be issued or reissued after this time.

​Section 60(i) Certificates are for children’s matters only, there is no Certificate for any other form of dispute eg property.

Are all cases suitable for Mediation?

Sub Regulation 25 is the assessment tool used by Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners to assess  appropriateness for mediation. See attached link for further details.

What are the fees for Mediation?

In comparison to other alternatives in resolving disputes mediation can be a cheaper option.

$300.00 +GST per party

1/2 day (up to 4 hours) $600.00 +GST per party
Full day $1200.00 (+ 4 hours) +GST per party

*Each Party is responsible for their own costs unless otherwise agreed.
**Additional fees for Child Informed Mediation (Child Consultant fees) POA.

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Mediation Bookings

Mediation Intake

1 hour

Individual pre-mediation session - must be completed prior to mediation


+GST (per party)

Booking for a client? Click here.

Mediation (Half Day)

up to 4 hours


+GST (per party)

Booking for a client? Click here.

Mediation (Full Day)

more than 4 hours


+GST (per party)

Booking for a client? Click here.

Counselling Bookings

Individual Counselling

1 hour



Couples Counselling

1 hour

Each party must have completed an individual counselling session prior to booking.