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If you're participating in a family dispute resolution conference you might want to bring a family member, friend or colleague with you to support you through the conference process.
When can I bring a support person to my conference?
You can bring a support person to the conference if everyone involved in the conference process agrees — including the other person involved in the dispute, the family dispute resolution practitioner and the agency organising the conference.
What if they don't agree about my support person attending?
If everyone involved in the conference doesn’t agree, your support person will not be allowed in the conference room. They will be able to wait outside the conference room and give you support during breaks in the conference process. Breaks are scheduled as needed by the family dispute resolution practitioner or as requested by those involved in the process.
What can a support person do at the conference?
Support people provide ‘silent support’ — this means they do not play an active role in the mediation and must not participate in any discussions or negotiations about the issues being mediated or other issues that arise during the process. You can talk to your support person about the issues being discussed when you are outside the conference room at scheduled breaks.
Support people do not have the right to speak to the other person involved in the dispute or to raise issues with the family dispute resolution practitioner, the other person’s legal representative or an independent children’s lawyer involved in the process.
Can my support person be asked to leave a conference?
Your support person can be excluded from the conference process at any time if the family dispute resolution practitioner finds they are being disruptive to the process or aren’t helping to progress the mediation.
Can my support person get legal aid for the conference?
Support people are not eligible for a grant of aid.