There are many ways to resolve family law issues or disputes that do not involve commencing Court proceedings. These options are all described as "alternative dispute resolution", and include informal negotiation, mediation, collaboration and/or arbitration. The processes for each of these differ significantly.
For most Family Law matters, we recommend some form of alternative dispute resolution as a starting point to resolve a dispute. The rules of the Family Court and also the best practice guidelines set by the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, require lawyers practising family law to attempt to settle family law disputes by negotiation.
Additionally, changes to the Family Law Act made several years ago now require parties to a parenting dispute to first mediate before they approach the Family Law Courts, except where there are circumstances of urgency or risk to a child.
An experienced family lawyer can guide and advise you on the most suitable form of alternative dispute resolution for your circumstances.