Grandparents: Mediation & Family Dispute Resolution

Grandparent attending Family Dispute Resolution (Mediation) 

Does a Grandparent have to go to FDR before Court?

As with almost every Application to the Court seeking an Order about a Child, to spend time with Children (or a parenting Order), a Grandparent (or both Grandparents if they are applying together) must first attend Family Dispute Resolution to try and resolve the dispute before making the Application to the Court.

Family Dispute Resolution is a form of Mediation.

If a Grandparent wants to try to arrange to see or communicate with their Grandchild, a Family Dispute Resolution Provider such as your local Family Relationships Centre can be contacted to put arrangements in place to have (or try to have) a Family Dispute Resolution Conference held.

If all parties attend a Family Dispute Resolution Conference and can read agreement about the time a Grandchild will spend with their Grandparent, then that can be written down in document called a Parenting Plan. You can read more information about Parenting Plans on our Grandparents included in Parenting Plans page.

What happens if there’s no agreement made at FDR?

If the Family Dispute Resolution is not successful in getting an agreement everyone is happy with, then Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner will issue a Section 60I Certificate, which must be filed in Court with any Application the Grandparent wants to make.

If the other parties (such as parents) refuse to attend the proposed FDR Conference when contacted by the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, the FDR Practitioner will still issue a Section 60I Certificate, which will enable the Grandparent who requested the FDR to make an application to the Court, but it will be a certain type of Certificate.

The Grandparent(s) will need to file the Section 60I Family Dispute Resolution Certificate in Court when they file their Application, otherwise the Court will generally not accept the filing of the Application.

A FDR Conference is like a Mediation. Unless a Court accepts there are circumstances of urgency (child abuse or domestic violence), then before a Grandparent can start proceedings in Court to get an Order about seeing a Grandchild, they must first file a Section 60I Certificate from a FDR provider in Court. This Certificate is to show the Court that there was at least either an attempt to hold a FDR Conference before asking the Court to intervene, or alternatively, that FDR Conference was held but an agreement was not reached at that Family Dispute Resolution Conference.

A Section 60I Certificate is only valid for a period of one (1) year. If 1 year has expired, you will need to attempt the Family Dispute Resolution process again to get a new Section 60I FDR Certificate.

If agreement can’t be reached with one or both of the child’s parents about the time to be spent by the Grandparent and their Grandchild, then our page How a Grandparent goes to Court details more about the next steps needed to be taken.

You can also see our page, Why a Child has a right to see their Grandparent to see what the general law is about this issue.

Grandparents time with Grandchildren: More Information

We also have the following information sheets on the topic of Grandparents spending time with their Grandchildren, Grandparents rights and similar issues facing Grandparents:

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