If you are involved in a dispute relating to your child and want to take the matter to court, it’s likely that you’ll need to see a Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Practitioner and gain a Section 60i certificate first, writes Tindall Gask Bentley lawyer Peter Heuzenroeder.
To issue proceedings in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia in relation to parenting disputes, you must show evidence that you have attempted family dispute resolution. That evidence is a certificate, issued pursuant Section 60i of the Family Law Act, which indicates that parties have seen an FDR Practitioner, in an attempt to resolve a dispute.
Common examples where a Section 60i certificate would be required before heading to court are disputes between separated parents about time spent with children or child living arrangements.
In certain circumstances the Court may grant an exemption from the requirement to file a certificate. This can include urgent matters, or issues family violence and child abuse.
Before the process begins, an assessment is made to see whether family dispute resolution is suitable for the situation.
Practitioners are impartial and will not take sides, exploring family issues in an objective and positive way.
At the end of this process, whether the matter settles or not, the Section 60i certificate will be issued.
Family Relationship Centres provide one hour of family dispute resolution free of charge but waiting times for these services could be weeks or months. While FDR Practitioners, myself included, have the ability to complete the process urgently for those who are unable or unwilling to wait.
While the Section 60i certificate enables people to issue proceedings, it’s important to note that there will be a formal family dispute resolution process which could see the matter resolved before it reaches the court. Not only does this save time and money, but also sees the parties involved avoid the stress of going through the court process.
Contact Peter Heuzenroeder
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