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Becoming a family dispute resolution practitioner

A family dispute resolution (FDR) practitioner is an independent person who helps people affected by separation or divorce to resolve their parenting disputes.

To be called an FDR practitioner you must meet the accreditation standards in the Family Law (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners) Regulations 2008.

This department manages the accreditation of FDR practitioners in Australia.

If you are already an accredited practitioner and need more information visit the Information for family dispute resolution practitioners page.

You can find more information about services and advice for families at the Family Dispute Resolution website.

Applying for accreditation

Once you have gained the relevant qualification outlined below and if you meet the other accreditation criteria you can apply to this department for accreditation.

Complete the form below when you are ready to apply. The fact sheet on accreditation has more information on the process:

Once you become accredited you must:

  • keep this department up to date with your contact details, including place of employment, email and telephone details
  • ensure continued access to a suitable complaints mechanism that can be used by your clients
  • maintain your professional indemnity insurance
  • meet your professional development requirements to undertake at least 24 hours professional development activities for every two years of accreditation
  • keep this department up to date if you cease to practice as an FDR practitioner and anything else relevant to your accreditation.

Information about obligations and general practice standards can be found on the Information for family dispute resolution practitioners page.

Accreditation standards

The criteria for accreditation include:

  • having appropriate qualifications and competencies
  • having access to a suitable complaints mechanism that can be used by your clients
  • having a national police check no older than four months
  • not being prohibited under a law of a state or territory from working with children
  • meeting the 'working with children' requirements in the state or territory that you provide services, if applicable
  • being suitable to perform the functions and duties of an FDR practitioner
  • being covered by professional indemnity insurance.

Qualifications and competencies

The main qualification you need is the Vocational Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution.

You can get this qualification through a registered training organisation.

There are also other ways to meet the qualification requirement and some higher education equivalents for this vocational graduate diploma.

Practitioners can meet this accreditation requirement by:

  • completing the vocational graduate diploma (or the higher education provider equivalent)
  • have an appropriate qualification or accreditation under the National Mediation Accreditation Scheme (see information below about NMAS) and competency in the six compulsory units from the vocational graduate diploma (or the higher education provider equivalent).

Practitioners may also meet accreditation requirements if they were included in the Family Dispute Resolution Register before 1 July 2009 and achieved competency in the three specified units (or higher education provider equivalent) before 1 July 2011.

National Mediator Accreditation Scheme

Information about the National Mediator Accreditation Scheme (NMAS) can be found on the Mediator Standards Board website.

To issue section 60I certificates, mediators accredited under NMAS still need to meet the accreditation standards to become an accredited FDR practitioner.

NMAS accreditation alone does not entitle practitioners to issue section 60I certificates.

Higher education equivalent qualifications

Higher education providers are allowed to certify to this department that their postgraduate course or units are equivalent to those of the vocational graduate diploma.

A course or unit can only be equivalent from the date the vocational graduate diploma was endorsed (24 September 2007). The following higher education providers have certified courses or units they offer are equivalent to the vocational graduate diploma:

Full Vocational Graduate Diploma:

  • The College of Law
  • University of South Australia.

Six compulsory units of the Vocational Graduate Diploma:

  • Bond University
  • James Cook University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • University of South Australia.

For information about the courses offered, please enquire with the higher education provider directly.

If you are a higher education provider and you want to certify your qualification you should complete the Certification of equivalence by higher education provider form below and return it to the Practitioner Accreditation Unit.