Solution Focused

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At a Glance

ISDR supports families facing tough issues.  ISDR work with families affected by separation and divorce to resolve parenting and property issues.  We also work with families where discussions about the care of aging parents need to occur.  Basically if a family is not getting along we may be able to help.

ISDR values SAFETY of everyone in a family, PARTICIPATION across the family system including children, SELF DETERMINATION  in decisions about the future, and  informed CHOICE.

Jon Graham is a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and is able to issue Section 60I certificates where appropriate under the Family Law Act.

Post Separation Parenting – Family Dispute Resolution

When parents separate or divorce, they want to make decisions about parenting arrangements in their children’s best interests. However, they do not always agree about what is in the best interests of their children. At ISDR, we provide a safe environment for parents to have a constructive conversation that enables them to better understand each other’s perspective. We then help parents to collaborate or negotiate with each other in order to make decisions.

There are a couple of things that are important to know as you begin to consider the possibility of mediation with ISDR:

  1. The role of the mediators is to be neutral – We won’t take sides with either of you. We won’t make decisions for you and we won’t tell you what to do.
  2. Because the mediators are neutral, it does not matter who requests the mediation process. Both parties are treated equally and are able to raise topics for discussion during the mediation.
  3. ISDR is focused on providing a process that is safe for all the parties. If you have any concerns about your safety, it is really important that you let us know.
  4. At ISDR, we are proponents of the mediation process because it offers the possibility of a cheaper and less conflictual process to the alternative of a legal process through the Family Law Courts.
  5. However, if you are unable to reach agreement in mediation, and decide to pursue a legal process, everything discussed during the mediation process is inadmissible as evidence in the family law courts.
  6. The Family Law Act, 1975, requires most separated parents to attempt FDR. However, if both parties make a ‘genuine effort’ during mediation and it is not possible to reach agreement, we can provide you with a Section 60I certificate, that will enable you to take the matter to court.


  1. Call or email ISDR and ask to speak with a mediator
    One of our mediators will explain the mediation process to you and you can ask any questions you may have. If you would like to proceed with mediation, we can then discuss the best way to invite the other party (e.g. your ex-partner) to participate in mediation.
  1. Pre-mediation appointment with a mediator (1.5-2 hours)
    One of our mediators will meet with each of you separately. The purpose of this meeting is to clarify what you would like to discuss in mediation and to explain in detail how the mediation works. This meeting also provides the mediators with an opportunity to assess whether or not it is a case that is suitable for mediation and it provides you with an opportunity to assess whether you are comfortable to proceed with mediation with the ISDR mediators.
  1. Legal Advice
    If you have not yet spoken with a lawyer, now would be a good time to do so. It is important to speak with a family law specialist about the issues that you would like to discuss in mediation. It is worth asking the following questions:
  • What is the range of possible outcomes if you were to take this matter to court?
  • What is the most likely outcome?
  • How long is it likely to take to get a judgment and court orders, if you were to take this to court?
  • How much would the entire legal process cost?This information will help you to make informed decisions during the mediation.
  1. Mediation
    If the mediator and both parties are willing to proceed with mediation, an appointment will be made for all parties to meet together. Mediations typically take 3 hours. Sometimes all issues are resolved in the first session. Sometimes additional sessions are necessary.
  1. Agreements
    The mediator will type up any agreements that are made during the mediation. This document is known as a ‘good will’ agreement which reflects the good intentions of the parents. The parties can, by agreement, take steps outside of the dispute resolution process to make their agreements enforceable. This can include:
    • Seeking advice from the court on converting the agreements reached to consent orders.
    • Instructing a lawyer to turn the agreements reached into consent orders. Or
    • Seeking to make the agreements reached into a Parenting Plan. Information about Parenting Plans is attached.


Participation in Family Dispute Resolution (mediation) is voluntary.  This means that you can choose not to participate or to withdraw from the process at any point, if you think it is not going to be in your best interests to proceed with mediation. It is always important to seek professional legal advice before deciding not to participate in mediation.  Changes were made to the Family Law Act in 2006. One of the changes was the introduction of the requirement for people who are involved in disputes over post-separation parenting arrangements to attempt to resolve their disputes through mediation, before going to court. In most cases, parties who wish to initiate legal proceedings, in the Federal Magistrates Court of the Family Court of Australia, are required to file a Section 60I certificate with their application. The ISDR mediators are registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (FDRPs) and are therefore able to issue Section 60I certificates.  So, if either parent decides that they want to take their case to court, they can request a S60I certificate which identifies one of the following reasons why family dispute resolution (FDR) was not possible:

  • one/both parties did not attend family dispute resolution because the other party or parties to the proceedings failed to attend or refused to attend family dispute resolution
  • one/both parties did not attend family dispute resolution because the FDRP did not think that it was appropriate for them to do so
  • one/both parties attended family dispute resolution and made a genuine effort to resolve the issue or issues in dispute
  • one/both parties attended family dispute resolution but did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issue or issues
  • one/both parties began attending family dispute resolution but the FDRP did not think that it was appropriate for them to continue to do so

It is important to note that the court may consider the reasons, shown on the certificate, when considering whether to make an order for the parties to attend Family Dispute Resolution or to award costs against a party. All of this can seem quite confusing when you’re in the middle of a stressful situation. So, please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you want to understand this better. More Information about Parenting Plans

Family Dispute Resolution - Child Informed Practice - Property Settlements - Elder Mediation - Wills and Estates - Workplace  - Mediation - Conflict Coaching