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Patrick Parkinson, Professor of Law, University of Sydney and Chairperson of the Family Law Council, an advisory body to the Australian Government. Family Relationship Centres form the centrepiece of a major new Australian government initiative to assist separating parents in making the transition from parenting together to parenting apart. The Centres will also play a role in helping people to access services that could prevent relationship breakdown. The Centres, which will be established in major population centres all over the country by 2008, have five major roles: information, advice and referral to services which can strengthen relationships; the provision of seminars, individual advice and free mediation when parents separate; assistance in resolving ongoing disputes about post-separation parenting arrangements; assistance to grandparents; and help in resolving child support issues. The author, who was involved in the development of the concept of Family Relationship Centres, explains the background to the initiative and the roles that the Centres are intended to fulfil. See Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol 18, No 2, 2006.
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