The Role of the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

The role of the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner is not to take sides or give opinions on how the finances should be divided.  The Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner’s role is an independent, neutral one.

The role of the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner is to facilitate the process, enabling the parties to explore the issues in dispute, generate lots of ideas for resolving any conflict over the assets and liabilities or how they communicate with each other and ultimately reach agreements that separate the financial ties that bind them together.

After a welcome to the Joint Session the Practitioner invites both parties to have an opening statement regarding the issues in dispute and their hopes for the resolution of the issues in dispute.

The Practitioner creates an Agenda based on the opening statements of the parties, which is a simple list of the important issues that the parties both agree to discuss in the Joint Session.

The Practitioner’s role is then to ensure that the parties communicate respectfully and constructively with each other.  Belittling, eye rolling, intimidating, mocking or swearing at the other party is not permitted.  If one party is behaving in an offensive or aggressive manner, the Practitioner will immediately pause the process and place the parties in separate rooms until it can be ensured that the communication between the parties will proceed in a respectful, dignified manner.

The goal of the Joint Session is for the parties to reach agreements as to how each asset and debt will be handled, or agreement on a more global division of the net asset pool.  Some people have itemised every single possession that is owned by either party or owned jointly.  Some people are completely in the dark and spend a Joint Session asking the other party to fill them in on their joint financial position, and establishing what documentation either party needs to produce to clarify that financial position.

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