-INFORMATION SHEET 1- 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW PRIOR TO FAMILY DISPUTE RESOLUTION Please find below some information that you need to receive (and acknowledge receiving) prior to any Family Dispute Resolution conference. You also should read Information Sheets 2 and 3 (links appear on the website) prior to any Family Dispute Resolution occurring. 1. It is not the role of a family dispute resolution practitioner to give people legal advice unless the family dispute resolution practitioner is also a legal practitioner. Whilst I am legal practitioner, I will most frequently only offer advice on the legal process. However, I am able to offer advice if I feel it is necessary. 2. For the most part, communications made during a family dispute resolution are confidential and neither I nor the other party can disclose such communications to third parties (nor to a Court). This includes not disclosing any “offers” at the FDR which are not accepted. There are some exceptions however, for instance where the safety of a child would be jeapordised. Please read section 10H and 10J of the Family Law Act on the Information Sheet 3 for more information. 3. You should be aware that family dispute resolution must be attended before applying for an order in relation to a child, unless an exception applies. Furthermore, if you want to apply to the court for an order in relation to a child you will need to obtain a section 60I certificate from a family dispute resolution practitioner before applying, unless an exception applies. Some more information about section 60I certificates can be found under the “What I can Offer” heading on my Family Dispute Resolution page. Section 60I in full is set out on Information Sheet 3. 4. A court may take a section 60I certificate into account (and the contents of the certificate) when deciding whether to make an order referring parties before it to family dispute resolution or whether to award costs against a person. 5. If you have a complaint about the way a family dispute resolution is conducted you should contact me to see if I can resolve your concerns. If I am not able to, then you would be entitled to raise the matter with LEADR, a professional mediation organisation of which I am a member. 6. You should be aware that as a family dispute resolution practitioner, I must consider whether the ability of a person to negotiate freely in the dispute is affected by: -a history of violence (if any) among the people involved in the dispute -the likely safety of the people involved -the equality of bargaining power the risk that a child may suffer abuse -the emotional, psychological and physical health of the people involved, or -any other matter that I consider relevant to the proposed family dispute resolution. 7. In the unlikely event that after considering these matters I am not satisfied that Family Dispute Resolution is appropriate, then under the regulatory scheme I must not provide Family Dispute Resolution. A section 60I certificate will still issue, setting out the reason FDR could not occur. 8. Similarly, if a family dispute resolution begins but part way through I decide it is no longer appropriate to continue because of the above matters, I may stop providing family dispute resolution. A certificate can then be issued detailing what has happened. 9. Under Section 12G of the Family Law Act if you are married and are considering a divorce, or are considering going to court about your children or your finances I am required to provide information about family counselling and family dispute resolution services available to help with reconciliation. Family Relationships Online (The Family Relationship Centre) can provide such services and I have created a link to them on the Family Dispute Resolution page of this website. Or you can ring the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321. I have also created a link to Relationships Australia which provides counselling services for families. 10.Under Section 60J of the Family Law Act, a person does not need to attend family dispute resolution before making an application to the court about a child in a number of circumstances including where there has been family violence, child abuse or a risk of family violence or child abuse. Section 60J is set out below. Where these circumstances exist the court must be satisfied that the person making the application has received information from a family counsellor or a family dispute resolution practitioner about services and options (including alternatives to court action) available. Please refer to the links on my FDR page to various community and counselling organisations. Section 60J is one of the sections excerpted below which you should read.
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