What options do I have?
If you cannot reach an agreement, or it is not suitable or safe for you to engage in dispute resolution with your former partner, you can apply to the Family Court for a judge to make a decision for you. You are recommended to seek legal advice on your individual situation.
While some disputes would benefit from a judge to make a decision, going to court is expensive, time-consuming and may result in a decision that neither of you agree with.
Where it is safe to do so and you both feel that you can reach an agreement with some additional help, family dispute resolution or property mediation can be a useful way to avoid the stressful, costly and lengthy court process.
If you have yet to reach an agreement and are looking at your available options, you may consider the following:
For some people, court proceedings may be the only way forward, but for many, and choosing not to enter the Court system and using dispute resolution such as mediation and FDR can be a smarter, quicker and less costly way forward.
If you both feel it is appropriate to go to court, or your situation benefits from going to court, you may need to go to court to deal with your family law matter.
You will need to go to court if:
- You want to get a divorce.
- Would like to formalise a parenting or financial arrangement (known as getting ‘consent orders’),
- If the issue is urgent.
For most property and parenting matters, if you can reach agreement with one another, there are alternatives to court such as mediation and FDR.
If you feel that you are being coerced, feel that you are at risk, are experiencing pressure to make decisions you are uncomfortable with or are feeling unsafe, mediation and dispute resolution may not be suitable for you and it is important that you seek support.
Family violence support
If you are experiencing family and domestic violence, you can get help and support. See Family violence – finding help and support or visit the Family Violence Law Help website, which provides information about domestic and family violence and the law in Australia.
If you are in immediate danger, call 000