Do I Really Need a 60I Certificate? And What is it?
When couples separate and are trying to resolve issues, quite often section 60I certificate is referred to. So, what is it? Do you really need to have one? What are those situations?
Do I really need a section 60I certificate?
If you want to make an application to the court for a parenting order to address ongoing custody or access arrangements, you are required to file a section 60I certificate at the time you file the application. Alternatively, you may be exempt from filing one, if you meet one of the grounds for not requiring a certificate.
Recently, the Court of Appeal set aside Orders made in the Federal Circuit Court which allowed a father’s Application for Orders concerning children to proceed; despite him not having obtained a section 60I certificate and despite the mother’s objection to the Application for that reason. The father’s application was dismissed. Ultimately the Court of Appeal concluded the Application could have been allowed to proceed had the Judge in the first instance considered whether one of the exceptions applied.
The exceptions to requiring a certificate are:
- Orders are being sought with consent of all parties;
- There are reasonable grounds for a Court to believe:
- There has been abuse of the children by one of the parties to the proceedings;
- There would be a risk of abuse of the child if there was to be delay in applying for orders;
- There has been family violence by one of the parties to the proceedings;
- There is a risk of family violence by one of the parties to the proceedings;
- You are filing a Contravention Application associated with a Parenting Order that has been made within the last 12 months and the Court is satisfied there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person has shown serious disregard for the Order
- The Application is urgent;
- A party is unable to participate in family dispute resolution effectively because of incapacity of some kind, physical remoteness from dispute resolution service or for some other reason;
This case emphasises the importance of obtaining a section 60I certificate, or alternatively having evidence as to why one of the exceptions should apply.
What is a section 60I certificate?
A section 60I certificate is a certificate issued by a family dispute resolution practitioner (FDRP) pursuant to section 60I(8) of the Family Law Act 1975; which relates to a person’s attempt to attend family dispute resolution with the other person (usually two parents). A FDRP can issue a certificate for the following reasons:
- Because the other party refused or failed to attend family dispute resolution;
- The FDRP did not consider it appropriate to conduct family dispute resolution;
- All parties attended family dispute resolution and made a genuine effort to resolve the issues;
- All parties attended family dispute resolution and the other party did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issues;
- The FDRP did not consider it appropriate to continue family dispute resolution
If you are in dispute about children’s matters and considering making an Application to the Court, you should firstly consider obtaining a section 60I certificate and obtain advice from a family lawyer in relation to whether your circumstances meets one of the exceptions.
For more information on what a Section 60I certificate is – see our previous article “What is a section 60I Certificate?”.
If you have any questions about this article, email us at [email protected] To make an appointment to discuss your personal circumstances, please phone us on (07) 3221 4300 or email at [email protected], or alternatively fill in our online form here.