What is a Section 60I Certificate?
Pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975, parties are required to make a genuine effort to resolve their parenting dispute through Family Dispute Resolution before commencing Court proceedings for a Parenting Order. This includes parties seeking to change an existing Parenting Order.
The Court confirms parties have complied with this requirement by requiring a certificate issued pursuant to Section 60I of the Family Law Act to be filed with the Initiating Application for Parenting Orders. This is called a Section 60I Certificate.
How can I obtain a Section 60I Certificate?
In order to obtain the certificate, the parties must attend Family Dispute Resolution with an Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner who is qualified to assist in resolving parenting disputes. This process may take place with the assistance of your Solicitor.
Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners are recorded on a Register accessed through the Attorney General’s website. Your Solicitor can also provide you with recommendations for experienced Practitioners in your area.
Can I be exempted from Family Dispute Resolution?
In accordance with section 60I(9) of the Family Law Act 1975, there are a number of exemptions to the requirement to participate in Family Dispute Resolution prior to commencing proceedings, which can include:
- Where the matter is urgent;
- Where one or more of the parties are unable to participate effectively in the mediation;
- Where the application relates to an existing and recent order; or
- Where the Court is satisfied that there has been family violence or child abuse, or that there would be a risk of either occurring due to a delay in applying to the Court.
What does the Certificate say?
A Section 60I certificate will record the details of the FDR Practitioner, the parties and some general outcomes from the Family Dispute Resolution process which include:
- If there was a refusal to attend;
- If the Practitioner considered the matter inappropriate for Family Dispute Resolution;
- If a genuine attempt was made to resolve the dispute.
- If a genuine attempt was not made to resolve the dispute.
- If the Practitioner considered the matter unable to continue through Family Dispute Resolution.
The specific information and proposals discussed at Family Dispute Resolution are otherwise confidential and unable to be used in Court proceedings.