What is a S60i Certificate?
A s60i certificate is issued by an accredited FDR practitioner outlining the parties’ attempt to resolve their disputes ahead of Court.
This certificate is required by the courts and is compulsory, (unless an exemption applies). The certificate is then filed along with the commencing documentation in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
The Family Law Act 1975 requires that separating couples who wish to engage in legal proceedings for parenting orders must make a genuine attempt to resolve the issues in dispute together. This attempt is usually carried out in a family dispute resolution setting (commonly referred to as FDR or family mediation), with an accredited FDR specialist. The accredited FDR practitioner is the only person who can issue a s60i certificate.
Once separating parties have attended a FDR session, a section 60i certificate will be issued. This certificate will say one of the following outcome:
- The other party to the mediation failed to attend
- The FDR practitioner consider the matter and determined that FDR/mediation was not appropriate
- Both parties commenced meditation but the FDR practitioner consider the mediation not appropriate to continue
- Both parties attended the mediation but did not make a genuine attempt,
- Both parties attended the mediation but one party failed to make a genuine attempt to resolve the issues.
If the FDR session is successful, the certificate will state that both parties have reached an agreement. Following a successful session, a parenting plan may be created by the FDR practitioner, with the option to turn the parenting plan into consent orders.
Before commencing proceedings in the Family Court, a s60i certificate needs to be filed along with the commencing applications.
Section 60i certificates are valid for 12 months from the last FDR attempt.
When commencing family law proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, the Court requires that the s60i certificate be filed along with the commencing applications.
Are there certain situations when a S60i certificate is not required?
Yes. There are certain situations when a s60i certificate is not required. The following list provides examples that satisfy the non-compliance with s60i requirements:
- The parties to the matter have reached an agreement
- There are concerns in regard to family violence or child abuse
- If the matter is urgent
- In response to a parties non-compliance to orders made within the last 12 months
- In situations where either party is considered incapacitated and unable to participate
Other circumstances that allow for non-compliance with the s60i requirement are found under s 60I(9) of the Family Law Act 1975. However, if you are uncertain if your matter is required to comply with the s60i requirements, please contact us today to discuss your matter further.
Why are S60i certificates required?
The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia currently estimate a waitlist time of over 12 months to have a matter fully progress to final hearing. The courts are frequently inundated with matters and therefore need a dispute resolution system to attempt to organise and delegate matters accordingly.
Section 60i certificates provide to the courts that the parties either attended and made a genuine effort to negotiate their issues or if the parties failed to make any effort to negotiate. If it’s the latter, the court has power to order the parties to re-attempt FDR again.
This process saves significant time to the courts when triaging matters that are urgent and matters that require the courts immediate attention.
It is important to note that in many circumstances separating couples are able to negotiate and come to an agreement for the care and welfare of their children, without needing the assistance of the courts.
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