Find out all about S60i certificates and whether you need one as part of your separation or divorce process.
What is a Section 60I Certificate?
Under the family law, couples who wish to have Court Orders in relation to arrangements for children under 18 years of age must first attempt to resolve parenting issues through Family Dispute Resolution (FDR), as it’s often called (which includes mediation). Unfortunately, in some high-conflict divorces, not all issues can be resolved through FDR and these matters end up in Court.
In such cases, to show they have first attempted FDR, separating couples must obtain a Certificate under Section 60I of the Family Law Act, to bring unresolved matters to the Court. These Certificates are required only for matters involving parenting and not for property settlement.
Are there different types of Sec 60I certificates?
There are 5 different forms that a Sec 60I Certificate might take:
- a party did not attend or refused to attend mediation;
- both parties made a genuine attempt at mediation but failed to reach agreement on one or more parenting matters;
- a party did not make a genuine attempt to resolve one or more parenting issues of dispute;
- the FDR practitioner considered it inappropriate to conduct mediation (for a wide range of reasons set out in the Regulations); or
- FDR session was commenced but the FDR practitioner terminated it as he felt it would be inappropriate to continue.
Why would I need a Sec 60I certificate?
You will need a Sec 60I Certificate to show the Court that you first attempted to resolve your parenting matters through Family Dispute Resolution before approaching the Court.
Additionally, no changes to an existing Parenting Order can be made without a Sec 60I Certificate.
No certificate is required if all parenting matters have been resolved at mediation (or any other form of FDR).
Can the Court waive the requirement for a Sec 60I Certificate?
The Court may allow an exemption from providing a Sec60I Certificatewhere a party is able to provide an affidavit to the Court to show that:
- there is evidence or a threat of family violence;
- the matter is urgent;
- either or both partners are physically unable to attend FDR;
- one partner has shown a serious disregard for a Court Order or has contravened an existing Court Order; or
- FDR cannot take place due to a remote location and long distance from a practitioner.
The Law does not provide a definition of the words “urgent” and “serious disregard”, but leaves it to the discretion of the Court to deal with each case on its own merits.
How long does it take to get a Sec60I Certificate?
A Certificate might be issued where a party refuses to participate in mediation or there are likely to be significant delays before mediation can take place.
After mediation, a Sec60I Certificate can be issued as soon as the FDR practitioner is satisfied that a mediation failed to resolve all the necessary parental issues.
For how long is a Sec60I Certificate valid?
The Certificate is valid for 12 months after its issue. Once it expires, you will need to make a fresh attempt to attend mediation and, if it fails again, to seek another Certificate.
Do you need a Sec60I Certificate to get a Consent Order?
If you have resolved all your parental issues, you do not need a Sec60I Certificate to get a Consent Order approved by the Court. You simply file your Application for Consent Orders.
How do I get a Sec60I certificate?
Only accredited FDR practitioners may issue a Sec60I Certificate. A list of accredited practitioners appears on the Attorney General’s website. Ian Shann is an Accredited FDRP and is authorised to issue Certificates under the Family Law Act.
Got more questions about family mediation or need to get a Sec60I Certificate?
Contact Ian Shann today – one of Perth’s leading family mediators.