But what is this mysterious legal document and why do you need one? Here’s all you need to know about Section 60I Certificates.
What is a Section 60I Certificate?
If you want to file or make changes to a parenting Order, you will first need to obtain a Section 60I Certificate. The Certificate recognises that you and your former partner have attempted Family Dispute Resolution (FDR).
FDR is a special type of mediation that helps parties to come to their own parenting agreements and settle their own disputes. You are legally required to attempt FDR before taking your matter to court. If FDR fails and you would like to seek a parenting Order, your Application must include a Section 60I Certificate.
Your Certificate, which will look like this, will be placed in one of five categories. This will depend on the outcome of your FDR. The categories are:
- You attended FDR and all attendees made a genuine effort to resolve the issue(s)
- You attended FDR but you or your former partner did not make genuine attempts to resolve the issue(s)
- You did not attend FDR because your former partner refused or failed to attend
- You did not attend FDR because the mediator decided that it was inappropriate in the circumstances
- You started FDR, but the mediator cancelled it partway through because they did not believe it was appropriate to continue
Why do I need a Section 60I Certificate?
If you want to apply for a parenting Order, the Family Law Act 1975 requires that you obtain a Section 60I Certificate. This is unless the court is satisfied that an exemption applies.
When will the court waive the requirement for a Section 60I Certificate?
There are very few reasons why a Court would accept an Application for filing without a Section 60I Certificate. The requirement will only be waived if you file an affidavit outlining that:
- your matter is urgent,
- there is evidence of family violence or a threat of family violence,
- you or your partner is unable to participate effectively in FDR, due to incapacity or physical remoteness, or
- your application relates to the breach of an existing Order made in the last 12 months. There must be reasonable grounds to believe that one party has shown a serious disregard for their obligations under that Order.
How long does it take to get a Section 60I Certificate?
The amount of time it will take to receive a Section 60I Certificate will depend on many factors, such as the demand for FDR services, and how quickly you and your former partner begin the process.
Will my Section 60I Certificate expire?
Your Certificate will expire after 12 months. After this time, you will need to recommence the FDR process and seek another Certificate before filing parenting Orders.
How do I get a Section 60I Certificate?
A Section 60I Certificate can only be issued by an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. To find a practitioner, you can contact Relationships Australia or research private FDR practitioners near you. For more detailed information on Section 60I Certificates, read this fact sheet.
If you need help finding a registered FDR practitioner, or you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us on 02 8999 9809.