There is a requirement that parties who cannot agree on the parenting of their children or have some other parenting disagreement must attend family dispute resolution before making an application to a Court. This is a process by which an independent professional helps people to resolve some or all of their parenting disputes.
Who can provide this assistance? There is a requirement to provide a certificate from a Family Dispute Resolution practitioner when making the application to the Court. The parties may attend:
- Mediation at Family Relationship Centres established by the Federal Government. There is no fee for attending on a mediation at these centres.
- Mediation with Family Law Mediators.
- Counselling with an approved Counsellor
- Counselling with an approved Psychologist.
- Relationships Australia, Kinections or other approved counselling organisations
If such mediation is unsuccessful and the parties wish to apply to a Court then they must obtain a certificate from the person or organisation they attended stating either:
- That mediation did not occur as a result of one party’s failure or refusal to mediate
- The parties did not complete the mediation as the mediator considered that mediation was not appropriate
- The parties did attend a mediation and a genuine effort was made to resolve the issues in dispute however the parties were unable to resolve such issues
- The parties did attend a mediation but one or both did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issues in dispute
The requirement to obtain a certificate would not apply if the parties were able to reach their own agreement and such agreement was set out in consent orders or in circumstances where:
- There has been abuse of a child by one of the parties or there is a risk of further abuse to enable an application to the Court to be made urgently
- Where there has been a serious disregard for previous orders made by the Court
- Where one of the parties is unable to attend mediation because of incapacity, remoteness or for some other reason
It is to be hoped that with the provisions of family dispute resolution the parties are able to reach their own agreement in regard to parenting without resorting to the Court process.
To discuss your family law matter, please contact Family Law on 1800 217 217 or visit familylaw.aylwardgame.com.au