Dialog Box

CatholicCare Victoria

Family Dispute Resolution

Resolving disputes for separated parents

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) provides mediation for separated or separating parents to reach agreement on parenting plans.

FDR mediation focuses on childrens’ needs and resolving disputes as an alternative to court.

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Mother and father holding toddler's hands as they walk together outdoors.

Resolve conflicts and focus on your children’s needs

Divorce, separation or family breakdown can be difficult and stressful for everyone involved.

But conflict can be particularly stressful and traumatic for children, which can lead to ongoing emotional, social and behavioural problems.

Resolving issues through mediation reduces the conflict that children experience. It also helps separating or separated parents to focus on the best interests of their children.

Our Family Dispute Resolution service helps parents to:

  • consider and focus on the needs of their children
  • clarify important issues
  • listen to each other
  • resolve issues together
  • communicate respectfully
  • develop a parenting plan to set out arrangements for your children
  • find outcomes that are fair for everyone, especially children

Many separated or separating parents who access FDR are able to come to agreement on issues relating to the welfare of their children, without the need to go to court.

Fair and impartial mediation 

The aim of mediation is to help parents resolve conflict and come to mutual agreements.

FDR practitioners will not take sides; they will support both parents to explore family issues in an objective and positive way.

Our qualified FDR practitioners guide parents through discussions about sharing decision-making, ensuring all parties have a say, all points of view are heard, and mutual agreement is reached.

When appropriate, we may offer child-inclusive mediation as part of an FDR session. 

Frequently asked questions

Does FDR provide legal advice?

No, while we work in the context of the Family Law Act, our FDR practitioners are not practicing lawyers and do not provide legal advice. We encourage both parents to seek independent legal advice.

Does FDR include counselling?

No, FDR practitioners don’t provide counselling. However we can refer you to one of our counsellors to address issues such as coping with stress and anxiety caused by the separation. We offer counselling to children, adolescents and adults to help everyone adjust to changes within the family structure.

Does FDR involve court?

Generally, FDR is a service that does not involve court. FDR is designed to help you avoid having to ask a court to make decisions about your children and your money.

However, where children's issues are being negotiated, courts will usually require people to attempt FDR before attending court. In these cases, we can provide a certificate to confirm that you have undertaken FDR with us.

Evidence of what is said during FDR is not admissible in court, and our FDR services do not impose legal outcomes on people. 

How do I access this service?

Separated or separating parents can access the Family Dispute Resolution service by calling one of our offices below.

Regional families can access our Family Dispute Resolution service from our satellite locations. To confirm availability of our service in your area, please contact your nearest location.

Community service organisations and health professionals can also make referrals into the FDR service by contacting us.


Family Dispute Resolution services are subsidised by the Commonwealth Government Department of Social Services. A means-tested co-contribution is required from those accessing the service.

The charge for FDR sessions are dependent on your income. Concession card / Health Care card holders and students are applicable for a reduced fee.

At CatholicCare Victoria we believe everyone should be able to access support for a better life. If you are experiencing financial hardship, we can discuss payment options for you.

Interpreter services can be arranged if required.

More information

Our FDR services in Greater Melbourne and Geelong can also offer property mediation. In our other locations where FDR is offered, Property Dispute Resolution is a separate service.

Download the Bendigo & Echuca brochureDownload the Greater Melbourne & Geelong brochure 

Client Rights and Responsibilities Child Safety at CatholicCare 

Contact us

The Family Dispute Resolution Program is offered at the following locations.
To make a booking or enquire about this service, please select your nearest office.

Ballarat FRCBendigoEchucaEppingFootscrayGeelongHamiltonMilduraSheppartonWarrnambool


Other services

You might also be interested in some of the following services offered at CatholicCare Victoria: