Find Lawyers in Melbourne, Australia for Family Law Mediation

Practice Area Overview

Family law mediation is an integral part of the family law system in Australia. In parenting matters, the process is also known as family dispute resolution. 

Family law mediation is usually a non-judicial process which assists people going through separation or divorce to resolve some or all of their disputes with each other. An independent mediator (or dispute resolution practitioner) helps guide participants to reach a decision. 

The role of the mediator is to work with the parties to help identify issues, explore alternatives, and generate options to assist the parties to jointly resolve the dispute, and to make decisions about future outcomes and actions.

The family law system in Australia requires parties to make a genuine effort to resolve their parenting and financial disputes before they can commence proceedings in the court system.

Parenting matters

Before parties are able to file an application for orders in relation to children, they must obtain a certificate from an accredited family dispute practitioner, stating that they attended, or made a genuine effort to participate in family dispute resolution.  Parenting cases involving family violence, child abuse or urgent matters are exempt from this requirement.

Financial matters

For financial matters, the Family Court’s pre-action procedures require parties to participate in dispute resolution (which can include mediation), before they are able to file an application.  Similarly, parties wishing to commence financial proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court are encouraged to resolve issues they don’t agree about before filing any applications.


Irrespective of the requirements under the rules of court, family law mediation presents as a practical means by which former spouses may endeavour to resolve parenting and property matters via negotiations; a cost and time effective alternative to litigation.

Family lawyers play an important role in assisting their clients to prepare for mediations and represent their clients at those mediations, negotiating on their behalf.

Geoff Sinclair

Barry Nilsson
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Related Practice Areas: Family Law
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