Strategy is the Key: The Different Ways To Resolve Family Law Disputes

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What are the different ways to resolve family law disputes? This question often arises for couples undergoing a divorce who seek a smoother, more efficient process.

The importance of cultivating positive relations with an ex-spouse is often overlooked.

However, evidence suggests that maintaining amicable ties can substantially mitigate the struggle of consecutive disagreements, creating a less stressful environment.

This approach not only hastens the resolution process but also provides a sense of comfort to those most impacted by these unfortunate circumstances – the children.

What Are The Different Ways To Resolve Family Law Disputes According to Family Law of 1975?

According to the Family Law Act of 1975 in Australia, several legal methods exist to resolve family disputes. Here are some of the primary strategies:

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)

This is one of the most important ways to resolve family law disputes. FDR is a type of mediation aimed at helping families discuss and resolve their issues.

The Family Law Act requires most people to make a genuine effort to resolve their dispute through FDR before applying to a court for parenting orders.

This is conducted with the assistance of an independent and impartial third party, known as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, and potentially with your family lawyer.

Parenting Plans

When the parties have reached an agreement through FDR or negotiation, it’s recommended that this agreement be documented in a Parenting Plan.

This is a written agreement that details the parenting arrangements for children. Though it’s not legally enforceable, it can be turned into a Consent Order for added legal security.

If parties agree on arrangements, they can formalise their agreement by applying for Consent Orders. These are orders made by a court with the same legal force as if the court had decided the orders themselves.

Consent Orders can cover parenting arrangements for children (parenting orders) and financial arrangements such as property division and spousal maintenance (financial orders).

Read more: Can You Do a Property Settlement Before Divorce: 2 Uncovered Facts

Court Orders

When an agreement cannot be reached, the dispute may end up in court. The court will consider the evidence and decide the form of a court order.

Parties are then legally obliged to comply with these orders. The court’s paramount consideration in making a parenting order is always the child’s best interests.

Binding Financial Agreements

These legal agreements can be made before, during, or after a marriage or de facto relationship.

These agreements can cover issues such as property division, financial resources, and spousal maintenance in case of a relationship breakdown.


If a party does not comply with a court order or Consent Order, several enforcement mechanisms are in place.

For instance, the court can order a party to undertake a Post-Separation Parenting Program. In severe cases, penalties, including fines or imprisonment, can be imposed.

The emphasis in Australian Family Law is on cooperation and dispute resolution rather than adversarial court proceedings.

Seeking legal advice early on can ensure you follow the best path for your circumstances when resolving family law disputes.

Who Can Help In The Different Ways To Resolve Family Law Disputes In Australia? 

A variety of professionals can assist in the different ways to resolve family law disputes in Australia:

Family Lawyers: These are legal professionals specialising in family law. They can provide legal advice, represent you in court, or assist with negotiation and mediation processes.

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners: These practitioners are skilled in guiding the Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) process. They provide a safe and neutral environment for parties to discuss and resolve disputes.

Mediators: Mediators are trained professionals who can assist parties in resolving disputes by facilitating effective communication and helping to develop mutually acceptable agreements.

Collaborative Lawyers: In the collaborative law process, each party hires a specially trained lawyer, and all parties work together cooperatively to reach an agreement.

Arbitrators: Arbitrators are often used in financial disputes. They listen to each party’s case and make a legally binding decision.

Conciliators: Conciliators play an active role in the negotiation process, often suggesting solutions to help parties reach an agreement.

Counsellors and Therapists: These professionals can provide emotional support and help parties cope with family disputes’ stress and emotional turmoil.

Financial Advisors: They can advise on financial matters, helping parties understand their financial situation and make informed decisions during property settlement disputes.

Child Psychologists: In cases involving children, a child psychologist can provide insights into their needs and the potential impacts of different arrangements on their wellbeing.

It’s crucial to seek the assistance of the right professionals when trying to resolve family law disputes in Australia. Always consider the nature of your argument and your specific needs when deciding who to engage for help.

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Levelling the Playing Field: How Walker Pender Group Ensured Fair Negotiation

At Walker Pender Group, a client recently approached us seeking assistance in her quest for a fair, binding financial agreement with her ex-husband. She felt disadvantaged, negotiating against her ex-husband and his hired counsel alone.

We stepped in, ensuring her rights were protected and her voice was heard. Through negotiations, we effectively advocated for her interests, balancing the scales in an otherwise uneven setting.

Our involvement brought expertise to the table and gave our client the confidence and assurance she needed. By implementing the different ways to resolve family law disputes, we secured a just and equitable financial agreement for our client, reinforcing our commitment to fair negotiation and advocacy at Walker Pender Group.

Feeling Overwhelmed By The Complexity Of Family Law Disputes? 

Walker Pender is comprised of experts in the different ways to resolve family law disputes.

Reach out to us today for a consultation.

We’re committed to finding a resolution that respects your interests and fosters lasting peace for you and your family.

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