PREPARING FOR FDR
Preparation is key
Like many things in life, preparation is key to a successful outcome. Here are a few things you should know before proceeding with FDR mediation.
Is there a threat of harm to you and / or your children?
If you or your children are at any risk of domestic violence, call the Police on 000 right away. The following organisations can also support you:
Mind SA Mind Connect 1300 286 463 (1300 AT MIND)
Information, advice and referral Helpline 1300 554 660
Domestic Violence Crisis Service (SA)
Phone: 1300782200 (24 hours a day, 7 days)
When domestic violence is involved, no one expects a victim to have to sit down with the other party face to face. If you have been the victim of domestic violence you will not need to take part in FDR mediation. We recommend that you get a Family Lawyer involved to help you and your children. You could be entitled to Legal Aid.
First things first: talk with your children
Keeping a calm and open dialogue with your children is very important. Ask them how they feel, and where appropriate, how they think care and contact arrangements could work. Show them you are listening to them. Try to keep your ‘adult’ emotions out of discussions. Keep your children out of parental (or wider family) conflicts.
Write down how you think care and contact arrangements might work best for your children.
It is sometimes difficult for us to think straight when our emotions are running high – this is normal. Presenting your thoughts clearly on paper can help. We suggest jotting down your ideal care and contact outcomes. It will help to give you clarity, and to help you to articulate your thoughts clearly when you are in the mediation session. You can use this to help you prepare.
What if my ex is unable or unwilling to take part in FDR mediation?
If you or your ex-partner is in prison, living overseas and cannot attend, or is simply unwilling to participate in FDR mediation, you will still need to apply for FDR mediation so that a mediator can complete an Intake Assessment (including Pre-Mediation where appropriate) with both parties. If the mediator is satisfied that FDR mediation is unsuitable, the mediator will then give you the required certificate which means you can go straight to the Family Court.
Can I sort my own family arrangements out privately, without the need for mediation?
If you are able to agree on care and contact arrangements together, and you do not need help from a third party, then there is nothing more that you need to do. This is called a Private Parenting Agreement. You can make your private Parenting Agreement enforceable by law by getting a Consent Order from the Family Court.
When you are considering going to Family Court, we recommend that you speak to a Family Law specialist.
Please note that Adelaide Family Mediation is unable to provide you with legal advice.