Hi, I’m Abbi Golightly from OMB Solicitors.
Prior to bringing an application to the court for parenting orders, there is a requirement under the Family Law Act to participate in family law mediation, also known as family dispute resolution. There are, of course, exceptions to the requirement to participate in family dispute resolution, including circumstances of urgency, risk of harm, circumstances involving family violence, and abuse of either parent or the child.
However, barring any of the exceptions to the requirements applying to your circumstances, it will be necessary for you to participate in family dispute resolution.
Family dispute resolution providers are approved by the federal government to be appropriately qualified to undertake mediations between parents, and if an agreement is unable to be reached, they will issue you with a Section 60I Certificate, which is a reference to the Family Law Act requiring you to participate in mediation.
That certificate will say that you have attempted mediation and were unable to reach an agreement, or that you have been unable to participate in mediation because of the other parent refusing to participate, or that your circumstances are such that mediation is not appropriate.
It is only after you’ve received a certificate or an exemption from the court that you can bring an application for parenting orders. The requirement to mediate is the federal government’s push to have parents reach an agreement privately in relation to the living arrangements for their children, rather than approaching the court without first doing everything they can to reach an agreement which statistically has the best chances of success for the parents and most importantly, for the children.
At OMB Solicitors, we can assist you in relation to attending a family dispute resolution and advising you about the best options available to you in relation to private mediation, publicly funded mediation and what is the appropriate position to take when negotiating the living arrangements for your children.