Using FDR for property

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a type of mediation which can be used by separating couples to reach an agreement about dividing their property. It aims to achieve a fair and practical property settlement, without going to the Family Court. 

FDR involves you and your ex-partner meeting together to work out how you will divide your assets and liabilities with help from an independent FDR Practitioner. 

If there has been family violence or abuse or risk of these, it is recommended you get legal advice and assistance, if possible. 

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

The Family Court usually expects people to make a genuine effort to reach an agreement about dividing their property, before going to court. Attending FDR is one way (but not the only way) to show that you have tried to reach an agreement. 

For more information about the steps you are required to take before starting a property case in the Family Court see the webpage, Property settlement – Pre-action procedures.

Do I need to get legal advice before FDR?

It is a good idea to get legal advice before going to FDR, so that you have an understanding of how the law applies in your case and what might happen when you go to the Family Court if you don't reach an agreement. For information about where to get legal advice about dividing property see the webpage, Get help dividing property.

You should get legal advice before signing documents or transferring property. 

How can I prepare for FDR?

You can prepare for your FDR conference by working out what assets and liabilities there are and their value. 

For information about how to work out what your asset pool is and how to value your assets and liabilities see the webpage, Valuing property.

What if we reach an agreement at FDR?

If you reach an agreement at FDR you can make your agreement legally binding and enforceable by making an application to the Family Court for consent orders. 

The Family Court must be satisfied the agreement is fair before it will make orders.

The Family Court of WA website has information about applying for consent orders and examples of property orders.

Formalising an agreement about dividing property by making an application for consent orders is a good idea because it means:

  • you have a legally binding and enforceable property agreement
  • it will be harder for your ex-partner to make a claim for your property in the future
  • you will be able to split your superannuation
  • you will not have to pay the usual stamp duty costs if you are transferring a house or a car to your ex-partner, and
  • you have certainty and finality. 

What if we can't reach an agreement at FDR?

If you can't reach an agreement at FDR, you may need to file an application with the Family Court for the court to decide how your property should be divided.

It is recommended you seek legal advice before starting a property case in the Family Court. 


Fact sheet - Property: Consent orders  


Last reviewed: 17 February 2023

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.