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Family dispute resolution is compulsory for everyone before starting a parenting matter in court. However, if there has been a history of violence or child abuse, you may be excused from attending FDR.
If you have been invited to attend FDR and there has been a history of violence, there is an ADVO in place or you feel unsafe about attending you should speak with the FDR service or provider and explain why you do not want to attend.
The provider may speak with you about alternative arrangements for FDR, such as being legally represented during the FDR, being in separate rooms from your ex-partner or FDR over the telephone.
If the FDR provider decides that it would be inappropriate to do FDR, they can issue a certificate saying that the FDR is inappropriate.
Either parent can apply to vary a parenting order at any time but they have to show there has been a significant change in circumstances since the order was made.
If the court believes that there has been a significant change in circumstances it will make any further orders on the basis of what is in the best interests of your children.
You should get
legal advice about your situation.
If you are worried about your safety at court, you should let the court know as soon as possible. Usually you will be able to speak with a Client Service Officer who will decide what steps should be taken to make sure you can still be involved in the court process and feel safe. You should give the court at least two days notice.
If you already have an ADVO against your ex-partner, you should also let the court know.
For more information, go to the
Federal Circuit Court website and read the brochure 'Do you have fears for your safety when attending court?'
If there are no parenting orders in place, an ADVO may make spending time with or contacting the children difficult. Whether a parent can still spend time with the children will depend on what restrictions there are on the parent who the ADVO is against.
If the other parent has applied for an ADVO against you, you should seek legal advice before going to court for the ADVO. You should particularly get advice about the additional orders on the ADVO and how these might affect your parenting arrangements.
For more information, see
Mandatory and additional orders.
If there is an ADVO in place and you are unsure whether the restrictions prevent or restrict parenting arrangements, you should get
You may still do FDR is there is an ADVO in place, as long as there is no restriction on the ADVO that prevents the defendant being in direct contact with the protected person. If you are unsure about the restrictions on the ADVO, you should seek
If you want to start FDR, you should tell the FDR provider that there is an ADVO in place. The provider may talk to you about alternative arrangements for FDR, such as being legally represented during the FDR, being in separate rooms or FDR over the telephone.
If there has been a history of violence or child abuse, the parties may be excused from attending FDR. If the FDR provider decides that it would be inappropriate to do FDR, they can issue a certificate saying that FDR is inappropriate.
An ADVO does not override the obligations in a parenting order. Parents and anyone else named in a parenting order have a legal obligation to make sure that parenting orders are followed. However, if an ADVO is made, you should consider whether the parenting orders are still appropriate in your circumstances.
If you think that the parenting orders are not appropriate, you should seek
legal advice about varying the orders. The court can vary the parenting orders, if the court finds that there has been a significant change in circumstances.