What is a section 60i certificate?
What is it and do you need one?
Generally, parents or other family members who cannot agree about arrangements for children are required under the Family Law Act to attend mediation to attempt to resolve their issues before they can make an application to the Court for parenting orders.
A section 60i certificate is generally a certificate of attendance at mediation (or an attempt at mediation). To obtain a section 60i certificate, the parties must attempt mediation with a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (often referred to as a mediator).
In many circumstances, mediation is a positive step in attempting to resolve some or all of the issues between parents (or family members) in relation to care arrangements for children. A family dispute resolution practitioner (or mediator) is an independent person who helps people after separation or divorce to resolve their disputes. The mediator or FDRP must be accredited by the Federal Attorney-General as an FDRP.
There are a few different types of section 60i certificates that may be issued by a family dispute resolution practitioner:
- Non-attendance because the other party refused or failed to attend the mediation (FDR);
- Non-attendance because the FDRP considered that your circumstances were not appropriate for mediation (FDR);
- Non-attendance and the parties did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issues;
- The parties attended but the other party, or you, did not make a genuine effort to resolve issues;
- The parties attended and mediation commenced, but the FDR considered that it would not be appropriate to continue mediation.
Generally, a section 60i certificate is valid for 12 months from the date of issue. This means that you have 12 months from the date of issue to file for parenting orders in Court. When filing an application for parenting orders in Court, a copy of the section 60i certificate needs to be filed with the Court application.
There are instances where mediation may not be appropriate. For example, where the matter is urgent, where the Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a child has been abused and/or that family violence has occurred; that there is a risk of family violence or that there is a risk of child abuse if there were a delay in applying to the Court. Other reasons can include where the application relates to a contravention of an existing order made by the Court in the last 12 months, or where a party is unable to participate effectively in family dispute resolution (incapacity, physical remoteness).
Our family law solicitors regularly attend private mediation or family dispute resolution conferences.
Our family law team is available to discuss mediation options with you.