Sensible discussion leading to a consensual agreement for the future living arrangements of children should be the paramount aim for separating parents. In the majority of cases litigation is seen as the last resort.

Consensual arrangements minimise potentially hefty legal costs, maximise co-operative parental ties and minimise children’s trauma following separation.

Family Dispute Resolution is the process of engaging in discussions faciliatated by a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner to work towards agreement on the future care arrangements for the children of separated parents.

There are non-legal service providers available to assist with these discussions such as Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners, who have qualifications as counsellors, psychologists, lawyers and/or barristers and mediators. The appropriate practitioner to facilitate discussions will depend on the issues involved. At Phillips Family Law we assist our clients with appropriate referrals to ensure the best possible “circle of care” of professionals is available their particular circumstances.

The significant value of resolving children’s arrangements by consent is recognised by the law and enshrined in Section 60 of the Family Law Act 1975, which requires parents and/or significant other persons with respect to chidren, such as grandparents and other relatives to attempt a resolution process before making an application to the Court. There are some exceptions such as urgency or risk to a child.

Provided that the resolution process is conducted by a registered family dispute resolution practitioner, a certificate will be issued confirming the attempt or attendance and then allow the family to proceed with court action.

Whilst resolution of parenting arrangements by agreement is the ultimate aim for parents, it is imperative to properly prepare for the process beforehand, with the benefit of legal advice from a family law specialist, to ensure that you maximise your time with your children and understand the potential outcome if the matter were decided in Court.

Phillips Family Law provides advice and information to parents to enable them to attend the resolution event in a strategic, confident and controlled manner, and ensure that all matters of concern to them are addressed in the final agreement.