You have separated and found yourself a good family lawyer. Your lawyer is helping you understand your rights, entitlements and generally, what happens when you separate, from a legal point of view. You are hoping that an agreement can be reached, but if you have to go to Court, you do not want to change lawyers.
If there are children involved in your matter you may attend family dispute resolution (FDR) to try and agree to arrangements for the care of your children. The FDR process if often run by government agencies such as Family Relationship Centre or Relationship Australia (although FDR can also be arranged privately). FDR is sometimes also called mediation.
Previously, if you attended FDR and no agreement was reached, there were limitations on your lawyer continuing to represent you if the matter went to Court.
Recent changes now allow lawyers to continue to act for clients where FDR has not been successful. Practically this means that if you attend FDR at a government agency, and if that process is unsuccessful, you can have that same lawyer act for you if the matter proceeds to court.
The protocol that has been issued by the Attorney General’s Department says that it is preferable that all parties are legally supported during the FDR process. By parties having the benefit of legal advice, this will hopefully lead to more agreements about arrangements that are in a child’s best interests.
If you are currently involved in a family law matter where you will be attending FDR at a family relationship centre you may want to consider the benefit of a lawyer attending FDR with you.
Please contact our offices and speak to one of our family lawyers to see how we can help you.
Joelene Nel is a Senior Associate Family Lawyer at McLaughlins Lawyers. She is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.
Author: Joelene Nel
Director: Sophie Pearson