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Family dispute resolution (FDR) 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 Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (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, including:
If the FDR provider decides that it would be inappropriate to do FDR, they can issue a section 60i certificate saying that the FDR is inappropriate. Getting this certificate will allow you to apply to a court for parenting orders.
Either parent can apply to vary a parenting order at any time. A court will only consider an application if the person making the application (the applicant) can 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 consider the application and decide whether to change the order based on what is in the best interests of your child.
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 five days notice.
If you already have an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) against your ex-partner, you should also let the court know.
For more information, see Do you have fears for your safety while attending court? on the Federal Circuit Court website.
Whether a parent can still spend time with the children will depend on:
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
How an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) affects existing parenting orders depended on a number of things:
The Court can make an Interim or Final ADVO that includes additional orders to take into account existing parenting orders.
The Court can also revive, vary discharge or suspend a parenting order when it makes a Final ADVO if it is given new information that the family court didn't have when it made the parenting order.
If you are unsure how your ADVO affects your parenting orders, you should get legal advice.
For more information, see Apprehended Violence Orders and Family Law.