What is a 60I certificate and how do I get one?

In family law proceedings, it is a requirement in parenting matters that you obtain a 60I certificate before you commence proceedings. A Section 60I certificate is a certificate issued by a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) indicating to the court and the parties that one of the following things has occurred:

  • that the parties have made a genuine attempt to resolve their matter;
  • that a party did not attend mediation, but their failure to attend was because the other party refused to attend;
  • a party did not attend mediation because the FDRP considered that it was not appropriate to conduct the mediation;
  • a party attended mediation and the other party did not make a genuine effort to resolve the matter;
  • the parties attended mediation but that the FDRP considered that it was not appropriate to continue with the mediation.

In parenting matters it is compulsory for you to obtain a certificate if you want to commence court proceedings.

To obtain a 60I certificate you must either:

  • attend mediation and make a genuine attempt to resolve the matter;
  • be prepared to participate in mediation in circumstances where the other party refuses to participate in mediation;
  • talk to the mediator about whether the exemptions for a 60I certificate apply to you in your matter.

The exemptions which a mediator or FDRP can consider include matters where there are allegations of family violence, neglect, child abuse or risk of child abuse, matters where the application is urgent, matters where a party unable to participate effectively in mediation due to an incapacity of some kind including physical remoteness, physical remoteness or for some other reason.

Unless there are serious and significant allegations of child abuse or family violence, the court will require that most matters attend upon a family dispute resolution practitioner for mediation and make a genuine attempt to resolve the matter.

It is also possible to apply to the court for an exemption. You need to complete a special application form when you file your application before the court setting out the reasons why it is appropriate that you be exempt from obtaining a 60I certificate. Your application will be assessed by a Registrar of the court and that Registrar will give you a decision about whether or not it is appropriate that you obtain an exemption. In some circumstances a Registrar will refuse your application and require that you attend mediation.

If you are not sure whether your matter is appropriate for mediation, then you should speak with a lawyer and obtain independent legal advice. You can also speak with a registered family dispute resolution practitioner about the concerns that you have and whether your matter may be one where an exemption is considered.