What we do

We help parents and other adult family members involved in family separation resolve their family disputes about:

  • parenting arrangements 
  • division of property (where parents are in dispute about children’s issues and have superannuation or a home mortgage)
  • partner maintenance
  • adult child maintenance
  • international parental child abduction.

About our service

Victoria Legal Aid Family Dispute Resolution Service, previously known as Roundtable Dispute Management, has a new name that better reflects the service offered. It involves a case manager assessing whether family dispute resolution is appropriate in each case (considering, for instance, safety issues and a parent’s capacity to negotiate). A family dispute resolution practitioner (a chairperson) conducts a conference to help family members discuss their dispute and make decisions that are in the best interests of the children.

Each person usually has a lawyer to help them make decisions and to provide legal advice. Clients may have to pay for their own lawyer’s fees if they do not have a grant of legal assistance. In some cases a client can be referred to a free lawyer from the Family Law Legal Service.

Most conferences occur at an early stage in family law matters, avoiding the need to go to court. However, in appropriate matters, conferences occur during court proceedings (called litigation intervention conferences) to help settle the dispute before a final hearing.

Our Family Dispute Resolution Service is part of our Family, Youth and Children’s Law program.

Facts and figures

We provided 1,087 family dispute resolution conferences (down by 9%) with a settlement rate of 86 per cent. The settlement rate is based on settlement of some or all issues in a dispute on an interim or ongoing basis. The decrease in the number of conferences can be attributed to guideline changes made in April 2013 taking effect.

Family dispute resolution services over two years

Year Number of services Settlement rate
2014–15 1,087 86%
2013–14 1,190 88%