This article touches on the issue of dispute resolution in Family Law and provides the opportunity for New South Lawyers’ Family Lawyers to discuss some of the Exemptions from Dispute Resolution in these instances.

What does Dispute Resolution in Family Law mean?

Dispute Resolution in family law proceedings refers to a range of services and processes which can assist parties to resolve their dispute outside of court. There are many benefits to dispute resolution, however dispute resolution may not be suitable or appropriate for all separating couples and family disputes. There are a number of pre-action procedures which parties must adhere to before filing an application with the court. One of these procedures is the requirement of Parties are required to meaningfully participate in Dispute Resolution before filing an application with the Court. Parties can attend mediation, family dispute resolution, conciliation and arbitration in addition to negotiation through lawyers.

Some of the exemptions from Dispute Resolution

Whilst parties are required to attend some form of dispute resolution prior to filing an application with the Court there are exemptions. These exemptions are found in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021 (“the Rules”), and include situations where the application or proceeding: Firstly, relates to divorce only; Secondly, relates to nullity or validity of marriage only; Thirdly,  is a child support application or appeal; Fourthly, involves a court’s jurisdiction in bankruptcy under section 35 or 35B of the Bankruptcy Act; or Finally, the court is satisfied that it would be inappropriate for parties to attend dispute resolution.

What is considered inappropriate?

Whilst it is within the Court's discretion to determine whether it is appropriate or not for parties to attend mediation, parties can apply for an exemption if the proceeding: Firstly, is urgent; Secondly, includes allegations of child abuse or family violence; Thirdly, includes a risk of child abuse or family violence; Fourthly, causes an applicant would be unduly prejudiced; or Finally, if there has been a previous application for the same action in the past 12 months. Dispute resolution is an important process in family law proceedings and there are many benefits to resolving your dispute through a form of dispute resolution like mediation or conciliation. If you are wondering whether you may be eligible for exemptions from Dispute Resolution, or simply want more information regarding which type of dispute resolution is best for you please read our article on the Types of Dispute Resolution or contact a member of our Sydney Family Law Team on 02 9891 6388 for a confidential discussion.

New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. To that end, people should not rely on this communication as legal advice. Accordingly, they should seek formal legal advice for matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out more, chat with a member of New South Lawyers' Family Law Team today.