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Keywords:

  • Custody;
  • Dispute Resolution;
  • Family Counseling;
  • Family Law;
  • Mediation;
  • Parenting;
  • Visitation

Family Relationship Centres formed the centrepiece of major reforms to the family law system in Australia which were introduced from 2006 onwards. They were established all over the country between 2006 and 2008, providing information and advice and offering free or heavily subsidised mediation of parenting disputes. They are an early intervention strategy to help parents manage the transition from parenting together to parenting apart in the aftermath of separation, and are intended to lead to significant cultural change in the resolution of post-separation parenting disputes. They also play a role in strengthening intact family relationships (mainly through advice and referral). This article explains the concept of Family Relationship Centres and how they operate. It also explains the background to their development and how the idea came to be accepted by the Australian Government.

Key Points for the Family Court Community

  • Describes the concept of the Australian Family Relationship Centres
  • A community-centric, rather than court-centric, approach to resolving issues of parenting after separation
  • Early indications of success include a decline of about 32% in the number of children's cases filed in Australia over a five year period.