Do I have to try FDR if there has been or is a risk of family violence?
No, you can apply directly to the Family Court for parenting orders without first going to FDR. You also have the option of contacting an FDR Practitioner to start the FDR process and asking for a certificate to say that it is not appropriate for your family law dispute to go through FDR, because of the history or risk of family violence.
What is family violence?
Family violence is violence or the threat of violence against you (or a family member) by another family member (or boyfriend or girlfriend), or other behaviour that makes you do things you don’t want to do or controls or frightens you.
Do I have to attend FDR if there has been or is a risk of child abuse?
No, you can apply directly to the Family Court for parenting orders without first going to FDR. You also have the option of contacting an FDR Practitioner and asking for a certificate to say that it is not appropriate for your family law dispute to go through FDR, because of the history or risk of child abuse in the relationship.
What is child abuse?
There are different kinds of child abuse. They are:
- physical abuse
- sexual abuse
- emotional abuse
- psychological abuse, including exposing a child to family violence
- serious neglect.
What are the other exemptions for not attending FDR for parenting disputes?
The other exemptions are:
- where someone is applying for procedural orders, interim orders or consent orders
- if you are responding to an application that has already been filed in court
- where the matter is urgent
- where it is not practical for one of you to participate in FDR, for reasons including physical incapacity or disability, living in a remote place without access to FDR services, or language barriers to participating in FDR, or
- where you are going back to court because the other person has seriously broken or ignored a court order made in the last 12 months about the same issue.
What should I do if I think an exemption applies to my situation?
FDR Practitioners or family lawyers can help you decide if any of the exceptions apply to you.
If you want to rely on an exemption from compulsory FDR, you will need to complete an Exemption Form from the Family Court and provide an affidavit to explain why the exemption applies to your situation. Depending on the reason you are claiming an exemption, you may need to complete other forms as well.
Even if an exemption applies to your situation, the court will consider whether or not you and your former partner should try to negotiate or to attend FDR before your case can continue.
- Family Court of WA - Family Dispute Resolution exemptions
Department of Communities (Child Protection & Family Support)
Find out more about the types and signs of child abuse as well as who to contact if you have concerns about a child’s safety or wellbeing.