Family dispute resolution


The Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006 (Cth) also implemented a system of Family Dispute Resolution, a key feature of which is compulsory family dispute resolution before filing of a court application. The object of this is to compel people to visit a family dispute resolution practitioner (previously called a counsellor or mediator) and make a genuine effort to resolve their dispute.

Family Dispute Resolution centres have been established to provide the above compulsory service; however, family dispute resolution may be provided outside these centres. A certificate is provided upon completion of this process.

There is little that is new in the concept of compulsory dispute resolution, particularly in relation to children’s matters; however, the difference under the amendments is that these processes are made compulsory before filing, rather than afterwards.

Exception for violence or abuse: The requirement to attend family dispute resolution prior to filing a court application does not apply where there are allegations of child abuse or family violence. For further information on this topic, see Family violence.

The following agencies may be able to provide Family Dispute Resolution:

Family Mediation Centre

Level 4, 1001 Nepean Highway, Moorabbin Vic 3189

Tel: 9556 5333



Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria

Level 4, 456 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 1300 372 888


See website for other offices in metropolitan and regional Victoria

Roundtable Dispute Management (Victoria Legal Aid)

Tel: 9269 0500; 1800 136 832

Web: (follow links from “What we do”)

LifeWorks Relationship Counselling and Education Services

Counselling (by appointment) at: Bayswater, Broadmeadows, Chadstone, Frankston, Geelong, Melbourne, Moonee Ponds, Preston, Wangaratta and Wyndham.

Tel: 1300 543 396


Cairnmillar Institute

993 Burke Road, Camberwell Vic 3124

Tel: 9813 3400


CatholicCare Melbourne

Admin: 9287 5555

Consultations (by appointment) at:

Bundoora: 9466 7353

Dandenong: 9793 2200

Footscray: 9689 3888

Geelong: 5221 7055

Kinglake: 5786 1016

Malvern: 9576 2377

Mitcham: 9873 4344


Relationships Australia (Victoria)

Counselling (by appointment) at: Armadale (central office), Ballarat, Cranbourne, Croydon, Greensborough, Kew, Narre Warren (Children’s Contact Service), Shepparton, Springvale, Sunshine and Traralgon.

Tel: 1300 364 277 (call will automatically be directed to the nearest centre in your area)



Family Court of Australia

Counsellors and welfare officers are also attached to the Family Court. Their aim is not to engage in long-term counselling but to supplement the services of marriage counselling organisations.