What is a S60i certificate and why do I need one?

A S60i certificate is short for a Section 60i family dispute resolution certificate. Under section 60 of the Family Law Act, for parenting matters you must undertake a dispute resolution process out of court before you can apply to take almost any family law issue to Court. The S60i certificate is used as evidence that you have followed this requirement and can now bring a parenting matter in Court. It is important to note, these are specifically for parenting matters, and this would not relate to your property or divorce proceedings.

As children are involved in your separation proceedings, and should be the main focus when it comes to parenting orders, the Court requires you to try dispute resolution processes like mediation before becoming one side verses the other in a courtroom. Dispute resolution processes can offer more holistic, time efficient, cost effective and lower stress solutions to family disputes. This is why, it is a requirement that some effort is made to try the dispute resolution avenue before taking a parenting matter to Court.

The s60i certificate itself can only be issued by an accredited mediator or family dispute resolution practitioner. Therefore, to obtain the certification to move things forward to Court, you must show that you cannot resolve your dispute as it is. This might mean that you have tried to resolve your issue through mediation, but you can’t reach agreement and Court is the next step you need to take. People may also have the mindset that they want to go straight to Court, and don’t want to use mediation to resolve their dispute. However, they must still attend mediation to get the S60i certificate.

The five different types of Section 60i certificates that a qualified practitioner can issue, depending on the circumstances of your dispute. These are acknowledging that:

  1. You did not attend Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) due to the refusal or failure of the other party to attend
  2. You did not attend FDR because the practitioner did not consider it would be appropriate (this may be for cases like those that include family violence)
  3. You and the other party attended the FDR, conducted by the practitioner, and everyone made a genuine effort to resolve the issues in dispute
  4. You and the other party attended the FDR, conducted by the practitioner, but one or more of you did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issues
  5. You and the other party began FDR, but part way through the practitioner decided it was not appropriate to continue

At Dispute Resolution Centre Australia, the outcome we aim for in our services is preferably number 3.

If it turns out that you’ve entered mediation to obtain a s60i certificate, but end up working things out between you and the other party, then you can reach agreement without needing the certificate or to go to Court. It is entirely possible that you can solve your problems using alternative dispute resolution pathways, and this is what the Courts have recognized by requiring the existence of a s60i certificate.

At Dispute Resolution Centre Australia we are passionate about ensuring that you are supported each step of the way. Contact us here at Dispute Resolution Centre Australia today.

Written by Cassandra Kalpaxis

Family Law Mediator