High Conflict FDR
For people who need parenting or property agreements but can’t access standard FDR services due to family conflict.
Book your pre-mediation session
The first step is a pre-mediation session which involves a comprehensive risk assessment and preparation for the mediation process.
High Conflict FDR is only ever facilitated by Video Mediation or phone mediation if one of the participants does not have access to the internet.
Risk screening and safety protocols are designed to keep the process emotionally safe without preventing negotiation between people who are willing and able to work towards resolving your disagreements.
The process is designed to support people who have in the past behaved in ways that are not respectful to each other as parents or partners.
A condition of participation is that the parties agree to behave respectfully and work towards a resolution.
Courses are available to assist parties who do not have a good understanding of how to control their own emotions or the developmental needs of their children.
You can choose to speak directly or use the Video Shuttle method. With Video Shuttle you are both at the same meeting but do not speak together.
The FDR Practitioners alternatively put you both on hold to help you to share information, discuss options and consider proposals.
Speaking directly is more efficient however in cases where there is trauma associated with past family violence speaking directly may not be appropriate.
Pre-MediationRisk screening and preparation of proposals
- High Conflict Family Dispute Resolution Pre-Mediation Process
- Risk Screening (Family DOORS)
- Pre-Mediation Interveiw
- Preparation for FDR Negotiation Process
- Referrals for support or advice (if required)
High Conflict Family Dispute ResoltuionVideo or Phone - direct discussion or shuttle
- Family Dispute Resolution via video or phone mediation
- Direct discussion or shuttle depending on risk assessment and participant preference
- Parenting, Financial Support and/or Property Settlement topics for negotiation
- Topics for the Agenda pre-agreed during the pre-mediation phase
High Conflict Family Dispute Resolution is an online video or phone meeting facilitated by a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) for the purpose of negotiating an agreement to a family conflict.
The participants can speak directly or we can use a video or phone shuttle process to ensure that neither party feels frightened or intimidated. The objective is to provide a safe environment to negotiate and attempt to resolve family law related issues.
See our Family Dispute Resolution (for lower conflict families) and Mediator Facilitated Negotiation Family Dispute Resolution (where being online at the same time is not advisable or practical).
The purpose of High Conflict Family Dispute Resolution (HC FDR)
The purpose of High Conflict Family Dispute Resolution is to provide a safer and more efficient way to engage in FDR where there has been family violence or high levels of relationship conflict.
We use it instead of Shuttle Mediation where the participants go to the same place. Our purpose is first to keep people safe and then to provide efficient and effective services. Our policy is to not bring people who have shown a willingness to use violence in the past to the same location as the person they have abused in order to negotiate.
We believe that if you shouldn’t be in the same room then we shouldn’t bring you to the same location.
In the session either through direct discussion or shuttle video mediation you will have the assistance of a team of two Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners to negotiate a practical resolution for Parenting or Property issues.
If during the process you both feel that speaking face to face is appropriate your facilitators will be able to bring you together into the same online meeting room.
Pre-Mediation Preparation Stage
Each person must participate in the pre-mediation preparation stage before the High Conflict Family Dispute Resolution mediation and involves the following:
- an individual risk screening and preparation session for each participant
- all communication with you to coordinate and arrange for sessions, collect information and prepare
- included in preparation is identification of the issues and the preparation of an agenda for the mediation to allow for each of you to prepare for the mediation session to follow.
- includes a section 60i Certificate if HC-FDR is refused or unsuccessful in reaching a resolution for all issues (Parenting Only)
Why have a High Conflict Family Dispute Resolution Service?
The benefits of FDR Should not be lost to high conflict families
Family Dispute Resolution is a mediation process facilitated by post graduate qualified specialist family law mediators who can provide an environment where negotiation is possible despite previous conflict and deadlocks on decision making.
High Conflict families traditionally have been turned away from FDR by services that are overloaded and need to reserve their resources for the most likely to resolve their issues families.
That leaves the most vulnerable families who are most likely to experience future relationship conflict and violence without support to resolve their differences. This is in direct conflict with our mission to prevent family violence so we have developed our high conflict FDR services to meet the need that these families have to resolve their issues.
What happens in a High Conflict FDR Session?
The process is similar to standard FDR with the exception that there is much more preparation and where necessary support provided to the participants.
The Agenda for the mediation (what issues are to be negotiated) is agreed in advance and our FDRP’s help the participants to prepare by getting legal advice and support for the mediation session if they need it.
The process of understanding points of view, exploring options and negotiating resolutions is similar however the process is slower where the shuttle process is used.
Parenting Agreements reached in High Conflict FDR are recommended to be treated as a trial agreement for a month followed up by a review session to determine how well each party is complying with what has been agreed.
If children have been exposed to violence or high conflict it is likely that they are dealing with trauma and may need additional psychological support to build their trust and resilience back. Refusal to agree to what has been planned for children is common in high conflict family situations and is treated as another problem to attempt to resolve.
Why does the service cost more than standard FDR?
In standard FDR the process is facilitated by one FDR Practitioner or a FDR Practitioner and an Intern.
In High Conflict FDR we allocate two fully accredited FDRP’s to work with your family. That means the fees are double what our standard FDR fee is.
We do this for several reasons:
- to help ensure that the facilitators remain neutral and facilitative. When supporting someone who has been traumatised by family violence and working with users of violence the potential for bias is greater.
- Trauma victims often require additional support to raise issues, speak about their needs and generally participate in a self-determination process. With two facilitators we can provide this support without making the process unfair or unequal.
- User of violence may have a personality disorder or be extremely good at manipulating situations for their own benefits. With two facilitators we can help protect against collusion and maintain a process that is reality focused and aimed at ensuring that agreements comply with our obligations under Family Law.
- to help facilitate a more complex process, especially where video shuttle mediation is used.
- to provide support for our practitioners. People who are caught up in high conflict are hard work for anyone who works with you professionally. It is likely that you have fixed and rigid thinking, difficulties with controlling your emotions and prone to blaming others. Having two facilitators working with your family gives them the opportunity to support each other and debrief after sessions.