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The Government is now operating in accordance with the Caretaker Conventions, pending the outcome of the 2022 federal election.
Information on Caretaker Conventions can be found on the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.

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, which includes having been assessed as competent in units that involve screening and assessing families for family violence and child abuse.

This department manages the accreditation of FDR practitioners in Australia and is able to 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.

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

Applying for accreditation

Once you have gained relevant qualifications and competencies and 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 are required to meet specific obligations under the Regulations.

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

Accreditation criteria

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 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 intend providing services, if applicable
  • being suitable to perform the functions and duties of an FDR practitioner, and
  • 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*
    or
  • have an appropriate qualification and competency in the six compulsory units from the Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution*
    or
  • have accreditation under the National Mediation Accreditation System (see information below about NMAS) and competency in the six 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 still need to meet the FDR accreditation criteria 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 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 six compulsory units of the Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution (CHC81115):

  • Bond University**
  • The College of Law**

**After completing these courses, when applying for accreditation to be an FDR practitioner, 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.

Contact details

Practitioner Accreditation Unit
1800 025 255
fdrregistration@ag.gov.au
Attorney-General’s Department
3-5 National Circuit
Barton ACT 2600