Family Court of Western Australia


Before you apply for parenting orders, you usually have to try family dispute resolution first. After you complete the process, you will be given a certificate to show you have gone through family dispute resolution.

This requirement is designed to encourage parents to develop cooperative parenting solutions, but the Court recognises there are situations where family dispute resolution is not appropriate. In these situations, you can seek an exemption from family dispute resolution.

You can seek an exemption if:

  • there has been child abuse or family violence, or there is a risk of child abuse or family violence,
  • a party is unable to participate effectively in family dispute resolution due to, for example: 
    • an incapacity to participate, or
    • physical remoteness from a family dispute resolution provider,
  • your matter is urgent, or
  • your application relates to a contravention of an order made within the last 12 months, and you are alleging behaviour that shows a serious disregard of obligations under the order.

To request an exemption, you need to complete a Family Dispute Resolution Exemption Form (Form NP1). It is recommended you seek legal advice before requesting an exemption.

If you are requesting an exemption because of urgency, you must also provide a letter addressed to the Duty Registrar advising them of the reason why you need an earlier hearing date. Your reasons should relate to the consequences for the child or children if your application is not able to be heard earlier.

Notice of Child Abuse or Family Violence

If you are requesting an exemption because there has been:

  • child abuse by one of the parties, or there is a risk of child abuse; or
  • family violence by one of the parties, or there is a risk of family violence, 

you will also need to complete a Notice of Child Abuse and Family Violence (or Risk) (Form 4), which includes evidence supporting the allegations. If there has been family violence or child abuse, you will be given information about the services and options available to you. 

The Notice of Child Abuse and Family Violence (or Risk) has information on the process, and includes the legal definitions of abuse and family violence.

If the Notice includes allegations of child abuse, the Court will notify a child welfare authority as soon as possible of the allegations by providing a copy of your Notice to them.

Next steps

After completing an Exemption Form and/or a Notice, they will be filed at the same time as your application for parenting orders.

Your application will be referred to the Duty Registrar to determine whether or not your application may be accepted in the absence of a family dispute resolution certificate. You will be notified of the Duty Registrar’s decision and given instructions about how to proceed.

As with the other parts of your application, the forms will need to be served on the other party.

Last updated: 1-Nov-2021

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