Family Dispute Resolution (also known as family law mediation) is a process that assists separated families reach agreement about disputed parenting and/or property matters. Separated couples are encouraged to work through their differences together with the assistance of an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (or Mediator).

Reaching agreement through mediation, as opposed to legal and court channels, can save both parties significant time and money.  At Northern Frontiers Mediation Cairns clients can mediate in person (where appropriate) or via phone and videochat (Zoom, MSTeams etc) methods.  The desired result of mediation is either a Record of Parenting Mediation, and /or a Record of Property Agreement.  These agreements can be provided to your legal advisers (if you have one) and they can assist with you formalising them and then applying to the Courts to have them become orders/binding.

Family separation can be a time of great stress and uncertainty – especially for children.

What children need most is Routine, Reliability and Regularity – as well as happy parents. Ongoing parental conflict is the number one risk factor in terms of children’s long-term mental health and well-being.

Separated families who disagree about a parenting issue/s are legally required to make a genuine effort to resolve their differences before asking a court to decide (exemptions apply). Mediation is a common, inexpensive form of dispute resolution.

Northern Frontiers Mediation Cairns offers a range of family law mediation services via phone and videoconferencing platforms Australia-wide – as well as in-person appointments at our relaxed Cairns office.  We pride ourselves on providing friendly child-focused parenting and property mediation services.

Mediation helps restore family stability and minimise the risk to children’s health and well-being by assisting to develop a practical parenting plan.

Is my dispute suitable for mediation?

Anything to do with parenting may be listed as an agenda item for mediation and included in a parenting plan. Examples include a child’s Education; Time Spent with Each Parent; Communication between the Parents; Health; Surname; Parental Relocation with the Child; Rules for Re-partnering; Cultural Issues, Religion etc.

If your dispute is around division of property due to family separation, Northern Frontiers Mediation Cairns can assist with a structured property mediation process.

You can discuss your mediation agenda items with the Mediator during pre-mediation sessions.

Who can start mediation?

Anyone with an ongoing interest in the care and well-being of a child can initiate family law mediation.  This includes parents (regardless of marital status or length of relationship); stepparents; grandparents, other extended family members and significant others.

Is mediation expensive?

Northern Frontiers Mediation Cairns provides an inexpensive way of resolving your family dispute.  As a private mediation service provider, we offer streamlined processes – and that means personalised, prompt, affordable service for you. Pricing is set at less than half the hourly rate of most legal services. The more agreement reached through mediation, the less time and money you spend on legal fees and court costs.  For a full breakdown of our mediation costs click here to review our mediation brochure.

The following is additional important information on our mediation process.

What is Family Dispute Resolution?
It’s really just a specialised form of family mediation.

Family law in Australia has undergone a number of changes in recent decades, with the introduction of compulsory mediation for separated families being one of the most notable. Put simply, separated families who cannot reach agreement around a child matter are now legally required to make a genuine effort to resolve their dispute through family law mediation before asking a court to decide things for them (exceptions apply). Of relevance to this requirement is the fact that the overriding principles of family law legislation are now grounded in the rights of the child and the responsibilities of parents and care providers.

Mediation offers a neutral space in which parents and care-providers can discuss parenting and property issues with a view to developing a Parenting Plan or Property Agreement that best meets the changing needs of their family.

Family law mediators (also known as Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners) are legally obligated to remain impartial, provide information about family separation and create an environment in which parents and care-providers can speak openly and honestly about their family situation. All that is said in mediation remains confidential and cannot be used as evidence in any court in Australia (exceptions apply).

Mediation basically offers a way for families to remain in control of their family’s future.

Who can initiate family law mediation?
Anyone with an ongoing interest in the care and well-being of a child can initiate mediation for the purpose of establishing a Parenting Plan or Property Agreement. This includes parents (regardless of marital status or length of relationship); step-parents; grandparents, other extended family members and significant others. Family law legislation also covers separated families who do not have children and would like to end their financial relationship.
Payment information for Family Law Mediation sessions

Unless advised prior it is assumed that both parties pay their own costs of the mediation process at Northern Frontiers Pty Ltd.  Pre-payment for any booked sessions is required at least two days prior to a session.  If more than 2 (two) business days notice is not given for cancellation, or there is a “No Show”, a 100% charge applies with no credits provided.  If you have booked a session as part of the Family Law Mediation process, funds are not refunded for any time that is not used during a joint mediation session, for whatever reason.  It is at the discretion of the mediator as to whether a credit is issued.  Mediation pricing includes the preparation of a Record of Parenting Agreement when required.

What is involved in family law mediation at Northern Frontiers?

Northern Frontiers offers a staged mediation process as follows:

Step 1: Intake session between Party A and the mediator. Permission sought to contact the other party and assess their willingness to mediate. If ‘Yes’ we proceed as follows…

Step 2: Intake session between Party B and the mediator.

Step 3:  Northern Frontiers Reception provides a number of available mediation session times over the next two weeks and confirms a suitable time with both parties.

Step 4: 1st mediation session facilitated by an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (aka Mediator).

Additional mediation sessions may be required depending on the number of agenda items and progress made in the 1st mediation session.

The Mediator records any agreement made in the form of a Parenting Plan or Property Agreement. Both parties receive a copy of their agreement along with referral to legal advice and/or other services where assessed as appropriate.


In some circumstances the Mediator may assess your matter as ‘not appropriate for mediation’ and issue a s60I certificate.  This may occur at any stage of the mediation process. Because mediators are bound by strict confidentiality you are encouraged to direct any questions you may have about a S60I certificate to a family law lawyer.

Recommended Reading:

Julie Hodge, one of Cairns’ leading family law lawyers, recently published a book called ‘Moving On – What you need to know about Separation and Divorce’ in the hope it may assist people affected by family separation as they move through the family law system. For more information, or to purchase a copy, please click here.

Is mediation expensive?

Northern Frontiers is a family-owned and operated business offering prompt fee-for-service mediation to Far North Queensland (including rural and remote locations) and the wider Australian community. Our family law mediation services are offered in person or via telephone – which means you have the option of mediating from the comfort of your own home if you so wish. No need to spend time and money on travel or disrupt your work week. We strive to keep fees low whilst still maintaining high quality, personalised service. Our resources are well-managed which means there are no lengthy wait times. You can usually complete your Intake session within 1-3 days of your initial inquiry.

Is my matter appropriate for family law mediation?

Northern Frontiers Mediation Cairns believes every family situation is unique which is why our services are personalised and tailored towards understanding and meeting your family’s individual needs. We believe most parents and care-providers want to help their children cope well with family separation so we’re here to listen to your concerns and provide information designed to assist you in reaching child-friendly parenting or property agreements.

Do I also need a lawyer?

Northern Frontiers Mediation Cairns suggests you seek legal advice before, during and after mediation. This is to ensure your parenting or property agreement is founded in current family law principles i.e. ‘in the best interest of the child’ and, in terms of property, ‘fair and equitable’.  If you require referral details for a suitably qualified family law lawyer please contact Reception or ask the mediator.

How soon can I get started?

As soon as you like! The longest you might wait for an Intake and Assessment Session is normally 2 – 4 business days. This is your first formal step in taking control of your family situation so that all involved can move on…

Appointment times:

For your convenience Northern Frontiers Mediation & Counselling Cairns offers appointments from 7.30am weekdays.  Out of hours appointments are available on a case-by-case basis.  To enquire call 1300 90 81 70, text message via mobile on 0419 531 269, email reception@northernfrontiers.com.au or use the online chat feature at the bottom right of this webpage.

Ready for a new direction?

Contact our Reception and confidentially discuss your unique situation today.  Simply call 1300 90 81 70, send a detailed text message to our client mobile on 0419 531 269, email reception@northernfrontiers.com.au or use the online chat feature at the bottom right of this webpage to speak with someone now.  Don't worry, there is no obligation to make a booking, and we are happy to answer any questions you have if you are just researching different providers.

Northern Frontiers mediation and counselling logo


75 Digger St

Cairns North QLD 4870

Northern Frontiers Pty Ltd does not accept walk-ins, or individuals without prior bookings. Please contact prior to attending office.


+1300 90 81 70

Mobile: 0419 531 269 (text messaging available)

LiveChat: If you have any questions about our services and don't have time to ring or email, feel free to use the LiveChat function (bottom right of this page).


Opening Hours

Mon-Fri: 7.30 am – 5:00 pm, by appointment only.  Face -to-face sessions available on Tuesdays and Fridays, phone and videochat (FaceTime, Skype, Zoom etc) available each weekday. Last-minute sessions are usually available for urgent matters.

Please note:  Northern Frontiers Mediation & Counselling Cairns provides private and confidential services.  To ensure client confidentiality all bookings are strictly by appointment only therefore we do not accept walk-ins or unannounced requests for service, including for new enquiries.