Reasons for a Section 60I Certificate to be issued.

An FDR practitioner can issue a section 60I certificate for five reasons:

  1. The other party refused or failed to attend an intake session or participate in FDR
  2. The FDR practitioner did not consider it would be appropriate to conduct FDR
  3. The parties attended FDR and made a genuine effort to resolve the issues between them
  4. The parties attended mediation but one or more parties did not make a genuine attempt to resolve the issue or issues between them
  5. The parties began FDR but part way through the FDR practitioner decided it was not appropriate to continue FDR

Section 60I Certificates

What is a Section 60I Certificate?

Under the Family Law Act 1975, parents with children are required to make a genuine attempt to resolve their parenting dispute through mediation conducted by a family dispute resolution practitioner (known as an FDRP) before going to court to seek a Parenting Order.

In other words, under the Australian legal system, you and your ex-partner are required to try and agree to a parenting arrangement for your kids through mediation before going to court. If mediation fails, or if the dispute is not appropriate for mediation, then the FDRP will issue what is called a Section 60I (sometimes written as Section 60i) Certificate. Once the Section 60I is issued, the dispute can be brought before the courts.

How do I get a Section 60I Certificate?

Even if you don’t believe mediation will work, Australian Law requires you to at least try to resolve your parenting dispute and the first step involves booking a mediation.

The mediator must be a qualified Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) with specialist training to assess whether your situation is appropriate for mediation or whether it is a matter that should proceed in court. The process begins with an intake session which is a meeting between the mediator and each party to the dispute (usually parents of the child/ren involved). The first intake session will be with the party initiating the mediation after which the mediator will invite the other party to attend their intake session.

The intake session may be conducted in person, on the phone or online (ZOOM) and is strictly confidential. The purpose of the intake sessions is for the mediator to obtain background regarding the dispute and to assess whether mediation is appropriate.

During the intake meeting, the mediator will explain to each party the process of mediation and help them prepare. Parties have an opportunity to tell their side of the story, discuss what they would like to achieve in terms of a parenting agreement and make the mediator aware of any imbalances of power or other concerns they may have about the other party – in a confidential setting.

When might mediation not be appropriate?

Mediation may not be considered suitable by the FDR practitioner. There are a number of circumstances or situations that may contribute to a FDR practitioners assessment that mediation is not suitable, including:

  1. Existing criminal charges or orders from the court that prevent mediation
  2. A history of violence between the parties
  3. Risks or concerns regarding health, safety and wellbeing of a party
  4. Concerns regarding the capacity of a party to make decisions for themselves or fully participate in the mediation process
Does the reason for obtaining a Section 60I Certificate get presented in court?

A Section 60I Certificate can be used to show the court that a genuine attempt to resolve a parenting dispute between parties has been attempted, allowing parties to apply to the court for a parenting order. The court may take into account the fact that certificate has been issued on the basis of a non-geniuine effort, in its consideration of awarding costs against a party.

How long is a Section 60I Certificate valid?

A Section 60I Certificate is valid for 12 months from the date of issue, meaning you have a year to instigate court proceedings. Parties can try again at FDR mediation if, over time, circumstances have changed, and their personal situation is now suited to FDR mediation.

Find out more about the mediation process HERE

Benefits of mediation vs court

Face to Face Mediation + Online Mediation

At Fresh Start mediation we offer face to face mediation or online mediation.

We assist parties to resolve disputes in an environment that is informal, neutral and fair, so that agreements reached are durable and long-lasting, offering parties peace of mind to move forward into the future.

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Online mediation offers a practical and accessible alternative to face to face mediation for parties who do not reside in the same location or do not wish to be in the same room for their mediation.

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Getting started with an intake session

The mediation process begins with an intake session, prior to the day of mediation.

This can be via a phone call or in-person meeting. The pre-mediation intake session is a separate and confidential meeting between the mediator and each party. The purpose of this first step is for the mediator to understand the circumstances of your dispute situation – what brought you to mediation, what you hope to achieve and anything we may need to know about you that could impact the mediation – for example, whether you feel comfortable being in the same room as the other party, or whether you prefer online mediation. The more we know about your situation, the better placed we are to assist.

The intake session also gives us a chance to go through each phase of the mediation process with you – ensuring you understand exactly what to expect on the day. Each party must go through the intake session individually before we can proceed to the mediation. The intake session also gives the mediator the chance to assess whether your dispute is appropriate for mediation. Instances where mediation may not be an alternative to the courts would be in the case where there is a serious safety concern via an emotional, physical or psychological threat to one of the parties, or if one party flatly refuses to participate.

As a starting point, we encourage you to give us a call and have an obligation-free chat about mediation and how it may be suited to the nature of your dispute.

If you are confident mediation is appropriate to the resolution of your dispute, then feel free to book your intake session, using the calendar tool below.

Start the mediation process by booking your intake meeting HERE

Give Fresh Start a call for an obligation-free discussion

At Fresh Start Mediation we understand you will probably have some questions. Fill in your details HERE and one of our team will give you a call, otherwise you are welcome to call us.

Fresh Start Mediation services the whole of Australia, offering face to face and online mediation options.