At Phelan Family Law, we try to keep our clients out of the Court process. There is a better way to separate, and mediation and family dispute resolution is an important aspect of this.


When is dispute resolution used?

Dispute resolution can help resolve both parenting and property disputes. For parenting matters, dispute resolution is a compulsory requirement before you can commence court proceedings (unless there are circumstances of urgency or the relationship was violent). Family law is not about the fight. You and your former partner can reach agreement respectfully and more cost effectively by reaching agreement yourselves.

What type of dispute resolution do I have to do in a property matter?

There are 2 types of dispute resolution available to parties involved in Court proceedings for property matters:

  1. Conciliation Conference; and
  2. Mediation.

A conciliation conference is a partially court funded conference that takes place with a Registrar of the Family Court who mediates the dispute and assists the parties to reach agreement. These conferences take place at the Courthouse, and are allowed a period of 2 hours for negotiations. Because they are Court funded, conciliation conferences are reserved for families who are unable to meet the cost of paying for a private mediation. Mediation is paid for by the parties. The mediation will take place at a location to be agreed, and can take all day. Your lawyer will attend with you.

What should I expect at dispute resolution?

Dispute resolution involves both parties discussing the matter to attempt to reach a resolution. If you are not comfortable being in the same room as your ex-partner, that request can generally be accommodated, and discussions can take place between the lawyers. Be prepared going into dispute resolution to compromise – if you are not willing to compromise then you are unlikely to reach an agreement.

What do I do if I reach agreement at dispute resolution?

If you reach agreement at a conciliation conference or mediation you can sign the proposed orders on the day. However these orders will not be binding until they have been made by the Court in the form of Consent Orders.