Using FDR to divide property

Working out disputes about property when you have separated from your partner can be a very stressful time. This information will tell you how Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) can help you to reach an agreement about dividing your property, without going to court.  Find out:

  • what is involved in using FDR to divide property
  • how to come prepared for an FDR conference
  • what happens afterwards.

What is involved in using FDR to divide property?

FDR is a mediation process guided by a FDR Practitioner, which can be used to help you and your former partner (and others) to come to an agreement about how to divide the assets and debts of your relationship. It aims to achieve a fair and practical property settlement, without going to the Family Court. 

Do I have to go to FDR about my property dispute?

The Family Court normally requires you to make a genuine effort to resolve your dispute by negotiating with the other person, before starting a court case for property settlement. Attending FDR is one way (but not the only way) to show that you have tried to reach agreement before going to court.  There are exceptions to allow you to go to court without first trying to resolve your dispute privately.

It is a good idea to get legal advice before going to FDR, so you have a better idea of how the law applies to property disputes and what might happen if you have to go to the Family Court if you don’t reach an agreement.

What do I need to do to prepare for an FDR conference?

Before you can start the process, everyone needs to agree about what ‘property’ is to be divided.  To help prepare, you should make a list of all your property including:

  • real estate, including the family home or investment properties
  • money, including amounts in bank accounts, term deposits and managed funds
  • inheritances and gifts
  • shares
  • cars, motor bikes, boats and other vehicles
  • furniture and jewellery
  • superannuation
  • any other items of property
  • debts you owe, such as loans, credit cards and unpaid bills.

It makes no difference whose name the property is in, who bought the item, who uses the item or who incurred the debt. 

What if we resolve our property dispute at FDR?

If you reach an agreement, you can turn it into a formal property settlement by signing a Minute of Consent Orders and filing it at the Family Court. If it is approved, the court will issue orders to make your property settlement legally binding.

What happens if we can’t reach an agreement at FDR?

If you can’t reach resolve your dispute, you will be provided with a certificate that can allow you to start a case for property orders in the Family Court. There are other requirements before you can apply for a property settlement in the Family Court. You should get legal advice before starting a property case.

Dispute Resolution at Legal Aid WA

We can help you work through family law problems without going to court, including arrangements for children and property settlements.


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.