Separation can be an upsetting experience for everyone involved. Some families are very lucky in that they can reach an agreement easily as to how to co-parent their children. Other families are not so lucky and need the assistance of services that are available in the community.
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)
Before a person can commence proceedings in the court they should try to negotiate an outcome with the other parent. Rather than engage a lawyer, some parents try to negotiate using FDR, which is similar to mediation.
A FDR practitioner is trained in the area relating to family law parenting disputes, and should be registered with the Australian Mediation Association & Department of Justice and Attorney General.
Step 1 – attend an intake session and explain your side of the story to the practitioner
Step 2 – the other parent is contacted by the practitioner and they have an opportunity to explain their side of the story
Step 3 – both parents (and/or other care givers) meet together and discuss the care arrangements for the child/children.
Step 4 – prepare a Parenting Plan or issue a Certificate if FDR was unsuccessful or could/did not proceed.
A private mediator may charge more ($145 to $220 per hour) as opposed to a government provider, however there is a much longer wait list with a government provider. These hourly rates are still cheaper than compared to the cost of a lawyer being engaged to negotiate an outcome. Even if you do not reach an outcome, you may at least narrow the issues in dispute and be able to ask your lawyer to perform less work.
If you are interested in participating in FDR please have a look at the following websites:
A Parenting Plan is an informal, written agreement between the caregivers of a child/children as to the care arrangements in relation to the child/children. The agreement can be updated from time to time as circumstances change, and there may be no need to go to court. Unfortunately Parenting Plans are not enforceable, they are only evidence of the intent of the parties at the time the agreement was made.
If you would prefer for your agreement to be enforceable, you should considering applying to the court for Parenting Orders to be made by Consent.
If you reach an agreement with the other person you will be able to file an Application for Consent Orders, and Minutes of Consent. The documents are located here:
If you are experiencing difficulties in spending time with your child/children, you may have to initially arrange to spend “supervised” time with them. There are two organisations in Townsville which are able to help you spend time with your child/children, and they are:
If you are unable to reach an agreement about your child/children with the other person by way of negotiation, you may need to commence proceedings in the court and obtain orders for interim (short term) parenting orders and final (long term) parenting orders. The documents are located here:
Pursuant to a Practice Direction made by the Court, your Affidavit should not exceed 10 pages in length and should not contain more than 5 Annexures.
If you would like assistance please call us on 4758 5656 to make an appointment for a special fixed fee price of $275.