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 and property disputes.
Unless authorised by the court, to be called an FDR practitioner and operate as such, you must meet the accreditation criteria in the Family Law (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners) Regulations 2008. This includes being assessed as competent in units that involve screening and assessing families for family violence and child abuse.
We manage the accreditation of FDR practitioners in Australia and can provide information about the operation of the Regulations.
If you are already an accredited practitioner and need more information, visit the Information for family dispute resolution practitioners page.
Find out more about services and advice for families on the Family Relationships Online website.
Apply for accreditation
Once you have gained relevant qualifications and competencies and you meet the other accreditation criteria, you can apply to us for accreditation. You cannot provide FDR services or purport to being an FDR practitioner until we have accredited you.
Click 'Apply to become a practitioner' at the top of the FDR Register page and follow the instructions to create an account and apply for accreditation.
Read our factsheet on accreditation as it has more information on the process.
Once you become accredited you are required to meet specific obligations under the Regulations.
Find out more information about obligations and general practice standards on the Information for family dispute resolution practitioners page.
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 (that has no disclosable offences related to violence to a person) that is no older than 4 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 intend providing services, if applicable
- being suitable to perform the functions and duties of an FDR practitioner.
It is a condition of accreditation to be covered by professional indemnity insurance.
Qualifications and competencies
A person is required to meet criteria for accreditation relating to qualifications and competencies, which includes competency in screening and assessing families for family violence and child abuse.
Generally, competencies are met through training which includes a workplace assessment under direct observation to demonstrate competency in delivering services to clients, including clients affected by family violence.
Practitioners can meet this accreditation requirement if they:
- have completed the full Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution*
- have an appropriate qualification and competency in the 6 compulsory units from the Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution*
- have accreditation under the National Mediation Accreditation System (see information below about NMAS) and competency in the 6 compulsory units from the Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution*
*You can achieve units of competency for the Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution (CHC81115) through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) or a higher education provider (listed below) that has certified it offers an equivalent course.
National Mediator Accreditation System
Information about the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) can be found on the Mediator Standards Board website.
To issue section 60I certificates, mediators accredited under NMAS must meet the FDR accreditation criteria to become an accredited FDR practitioner.
NMAS accreditation alone does not entitle practitioners to issue section 60I certificates.
Where NMAS accreditation forms part of the skills and qualifications required to become accredited, NMAS must be maintained in order to remain compliant with FDR accreditation requirements. A loss of NMAS accreditation will impact your ability to practice as an accredited FDRP.
Higher education equivalent qualifications
Higher education providers are allowed to certify to the Attorney-General's Department that their postgraduate course or units are equivalent to those of the Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution. This certification also includes the eligibility requirements to enrol into the course and the supervised practice element needed to be assessed as competent.
Currently, there are no higher education providers who provide an equivalent course to the full Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution (CHC81115)
The following higher education providers have certified courses or units they offer are equivalent to only the 6 compulsory units of the Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution (CHC81115):
- Bond University**
- The College of Law**
- The University of Western Australia**
**After completing these courses, when applying for FDR accreditation, applicants must also provide an appropriate qualification or current NMAS accreditation to support their application.
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 contact the Practitioner Accreditation Unit in the Attorney-General's Department.
Practitioner Accreditation Unit
1800 025 255
3-5 National Circuit
Barton ACT 2600