Family Dispute Resolution & Section 60I Certificates- Family Law Advice Article
Family disputes are an inevitable part of life, as no family is immune to disagreements and conflicts. Whether it’s a divorce, child custody issues, inheritance disputes, or disagreements over family finances, conflicts within families can be emotionally charged and distressing for all involved. However, there are effective ways to resolve these conflicts and maintain harmonious relationships, one of which is Family Dispute Resolution (FDR).
What is Family Dispute Resolution?
Family Dispute Resolution, commonly known as FDR, is a process designed to help families find peaceful and fair solutions to their disputes without the need for formal court intervention. It involves the assistance of a trained and impartial mediator, who facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties involved.
What are the benefits of FDR?
FDR awards parties the chance to enhance their relationship and come to an agreement on crucial legal and co-parenting matters. By enabling parties to make their own decisions and involving all individuals in the resolution process, FDR increases the likelihood that the agreement will endure over time and reduce conflicts in the future.
The primary goal of FDR is to promote open dialogue, active listening, and understanding, ultimately leading to a resolution that considers the best interests of all family members. For example, where parents are in disagreement over the care arrangements for their children, the mediator can aid the parties in reaching a documented agreement regarding the specific terms of the arrangements.
What is a Section 60I Certificate?
If the parties to a parenting dispute are unable to reach an agreement at FDR, the mediator can issue a section 60I certificate.
It is a requirement under the Family law Act 1975 that separating couples wanting to apply for a parenting order need to first indicate that a genuine effort to resolve the dispute by FDR has been attempted. To show that, parties are required to obtain what the court calls a “Section 60I Certificate” which is to be filed with a Court Application.
There are different types of section 60I certificates that can be issued, these are:-
- You did not attend because the other party refused or failed to attend;
- You did not attend because the mediator considered that your circumstances were not appropriate for Family Dispute Resolution;
- You did not attend and the parties did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issues;
- You did attend and the other party (or you) did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issues; or
- You and the other party started the FDR process, but the mediator considered that it would not be appropriate to continue.
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