PROCESS

FDR Mediation First

From 31 March 2014, if you have a dispute over care arrangements about your children or guardianship matters, you will generally have to attend at FDR (Family Dispute Resolution) BEFORE you can go to court. There are exceptions. You MUST seek legal advice for the exceptions to this.

Agreement reached at FDR can become a Court Order. It is important that you seek legal advice prior to attending an FDR to ensure that are fully aware of the law in relation to your dispute. You can have a lawyer attend the FDR also, or you can seek legal  advice during the FDR or prior to signing any agreement in FDR.

No resolution at FDR? You will need a special Family Dispute Resolution Form, from an FDR mediator, before you can apply to go to Court.

COURT - WHAT YOUR LAWYER CAN/CAN'T DO.

From 31 March 2014, if you have a dispute over care arrangement about your children or guardianship matters, you will generally NOT be permitted to have a lawyer represent you in court, whether privately funded or  legally aided, until a settlement conference or defended hearing.  There are exceptions. You MUST seek legal advice for the exceptions to this.

If you have a dispute over care arrangements about your children, but you can fund a  lawyer privately, the law does not stop you getting::

1. Legal  & Strategic Advice;

2. Court & Courtroom preparation assistance (ie):

  (a) What to say, how to say it,  maximising your "solo" court success with the Judge;

  (b) Ghost writing your court documents and letters for you, to make sure they are "legally       and evidentially correct" and "judge friendly".

3. Negotiation advice.