Can I have my own lawyer?

Yes, you certainly can have a legal practitioner assist and attend with you throughout the process. A lawyer can have an important role in providing advice and advocacy for a client during the mediation process. Some clients are comfortable participating in mediation without a lawyer - it's really a matter of personal choice. It can be helpful to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer prior to attending FDR, though this is not a requirement.

Why choose FDR Private?

Our mediators are multi disciplined - with training and experience in family law, social sciences and dispute resolution. Their primary professional focus is mediation - and their experience and expertise means your case is more likely to settle by mutual agreement.

We keep our overheads low so we can provide an affordable service. Avoid the high cost of litigation and the long delays and inconsistent service quality of the not-for-profit organisations. Some of the differences between FDR Private and public FDR, provided by the non-profits, are set out below.

FDR Private vs Public FDR

FDR Private

All mediators have 8 + years of FDR experience

View mediator professional profiles online

Prompt turnaround times for appointments

All mediators have 10 + years legal experience

All mediators are former family lawyers

All mediators have relevant Master’s Degree

Lawyers allowed to participate in process

All mediators are registered FDRPs

Public FDR

Mediators may have limited experience

Be assigned the next available mediator

The process is often protracted

Mediators typically have no legal qualifications or experience

Mediators usually have no family law experience

Relevant Master’s Degree not common

Lawyers not allowed to participate

(in Tasmania)

All mediators are registered FDRPs

Is FDR right for me?

Have you been unable to agree on parenting arrangements or property settlement after separation? If so, FDR may be beneficial. FDRPs are required by law to assess the parties’ suitability to participate in FDR. This broadly concerns each party’s ability to negotiate during a mediation, which can be impacted by any history of family violence and imbalances in bargaining power, among other factors. The FDRP will conduct the process in a manner that aims to ensure the process is fair and safe. If a party so chooses, they may have a lawyer attend with them. The FDRP may suggest that the mediation be structured in a certain way in order to promote fairness and safety. In some circumstances however, FDR may be considered inappropriate. In that event the FDRP will issue a certificate – known as a section 60I certificate – to the parties, confirming the matter is assessed as not suitable for FDR. These certificates allow parties to file a parenting application in the family courts if they chose to.

If you are interested in FDR but are unsure if the other party would be, you can suggest FDR to them if you are comfortable to do so. You may prefer that we contact the other party to see whether they would like to participate.

Is FDR compulsory?

That Family Law Act 1975 requires parties to make a genuine effort at Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) prior to taking a parenting case to court (unless an exception applies). Participation or attempted participation in FDR is confirmed by a section 60I certificate issued by a registered FDRP. Unless an exception applies, a section 60I certificate must be filed at the time a parenting case is filed. All mediators with FDR Private are authorised to issue section 60I certificates.

What is a section 60I certificate?

A section 60I certificates is required to be filed at the same time that a parenting orders application is file, unless an exception is applied for. A section 60I certificate confirms to the court that Family Dispute Resolution has been conducted or was attempted. These certificates can only be issued by registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (FDRPs). There are five types of certificates:

a) That a party failed or refused to participate in FDR

b) That FDR is considered not suitable for the parties

c) That the parties attended FDR and made a genuine effort to resolve the dispute

d) That a party attended FDR but failed to make a genuine effort to resolve the dispute

e) That FDR commenced but as subsequently considered not suitable to continue 

The court may take into account the type of section 60I certificate issued when considering whether to make a costs order against a party – relevant where a party fails to attend FDR (certificate “a”) or fails to make a genuine effort at FDR (certificate “d”).

How much does FDR Private charge?

Giving clients access to justice through quality and prompt FDR is our priority. Keeping our overheads low enables us to offer fees that are affordable and accessible to most. Parties typically share the costs of the process equally. The costs of the process for each party are set out in the table below (which assumes fees are equally shared).

Can mediation happen only in person?

It is preferred that the mediation session happen in person, however due to COVID-19 we offer mediations via online platforms or by phone.

Initial contact to discuss case (estimate: 10 minutes)


Pre-mediation stage, includes one on one session and reading client documents (estimate: 1 hour)


Joint FDR (mediation) (estimate: 3+ hours)


Drafting Parenting Plan or Terms of Settlement


Boardroom hire for face to face Joint FDR (mediation)


Issuing section 60I certificate – including correspondence