Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) can help separated or divorced parents agree on living arrangements for their children and how to share parenting after separation, as well as resolve conflicts over child support and other costs.

These types of disputes are commonly called parenting matters in the family law system. It is also known as mediation, with a focus on safety and the best interests of children, and ensuring that both people can participate. 

It’s not uncommon for separating couples to need to resolve issues around both parenting and property matters. This can be done as part of the same FDR process, or at different times.

When is a certificate issued?

Under Australian family law, before filing in court for parenting orders, it is necessary to attempt FDR and obtain a certificate from your FDR practitioner. 

There are some exemptions, such as in cases involving family violence or child abuse, or if the matter is urgent.  

How do I set up a Parenting Plan?

As part of FDR, we can also help you to develop a Parenting Plan – a written agreement that sets out the practical issues of parenting your children after separation.

A Parenting Plan can create more clarity and certainty in parenting arrangements, help both parents know what is expected of them and be changed by agreement as time passes and circumstances change.

It can include details such as the time your children will spend with each parent, and how parents will communicate and make ongoing decisions about your children’s care and welfare. Once developed, it needs to be signed and dated by both parents.


In conclusion, Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) plays a pivotal role in resolving parenting matters and related issues in the Australian family law system. It promotes safety, the best interests of children, and active participation from both parties. Obtaining an FDR certificate is a crucial step before pursuing parenting orders in court. Additionally, developing a comprehensive Parenting Plan through FDR ensures clarity and flexibility in parenting arrangements.

At Eckert Legal, we are committed to assisting you in navigating the complexities of FDR and creating a Parenting Plan tailored to your unique circumstances. Our expertise and dedication to your family’s well-being make us your trusted partner in securing a harmonious future for your children after separation.