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 Family Dispute Resolution and family mediation.


First, if there is a threat of harm to you and your children, please call the Police on 000 right away. The following organisations can also support you:


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, seven days)


When domestic violence is involved, no one expects a victim to sit down with the other party face to face. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you may not need to participate 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. 

  • Keep a calm and open dialogue with your children. Ask them how they feel, and where appropriate, how they think care and contact arrangements could work. Show them that you are listening to them. Try to keep your emotions out of the discussion and try and keep your children out of adult conflict.

  • Write down how you think care and communication arrangements might work best for your children. It can be challenging to think clearly when emotions are running high; this is normal. Writing down your plans on paper can help. Adelaide Family Mediation suggests noting your ideal care and communication outcomes. It will help clarify and better articulate your thoughts when you are in the mediation session. You can use our 'Preparing for Mediation' worksheet to help.

  • Approach mediation with an open mind and be willing to listen. Parents who are open and listen to their ex-partner are more able to settle. Be open to different ideas and willing to compromise so you can reach a peaceful solution on behalf of your children. Please view our video 'How to talk and listen during mediation'.


  • Clearly understand your children's needs, so you can stay focused on them and not on each other. What children need is often different from what parents need.


  • Family mediation is not the place to focus on the other parent. The process may break down if you get into an argument about who said what. Mediation is not a place to discuss old conflicts but rather solve parenting matter after separation. 

Things to Remember




Once you have reached an agreement, you are not required to do anything else. However, there are a few common scenarios to keep in mind, which may apply to you now or in the future. 


You are happy with the Parenting Agreement, but you want it formalised by way of Consent Order:

In this case, you will need to apply to the Family Court. You can apply with forms found on the Family Court of Australia website. Click the link below to access the DIY kit. You will need to attach a copy of your Parenting Agreement developed by Adelaide Family Mediation.

If the Parenting Agreement is not working out:


You may always return to mediation to address any issues with the Parenting Agreement. Contact us.


One party is not following the Parenting Agreement:


If someone is not fulfilling their side of a formal Parenting Plan after FDR mediation, you may want to apply to the Family Court for a Court Order. Find out more on the Family Court of Australia website.