Family dispute resolution: Use, timing, and outcomes

Content type
Journal article

March 2019


After the 2006 Australian family law reforms, it became mandatory for separating or separated parents to mediate disputes over children before filing an application for the courts. The process is known as Family Dispute Resolution (FDR).

This paper examines three cohorts of parents who had separated in different periods after the reforms. It shows that parents who went to FDR were typically able to reach an agreement, but also that the use of and outcomes from FDR were closely linked to circumstances surrounding separation. And finally that parents who used FDR typically did so in the early stage of separation, with its use much less common after a separation of three or four years.