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What is a Section 60I Certificate? Everything You Need to Know

It’s a common question we hear at My Legal Crunch, what is a section 60I certificate and why do I need one?

 

What is a Section 60I Certificate?

A section 60I certificate is required in most circumstances before you want to start family law proceedings which involve parenting and children matters.  This can include seeking family law orders such as who will the children live with, can I relocate with the children to another area, is there child abuse or family violence risk factors and when can the children spend time with each parent.

A section 60I certificate is a certificate given to you after you and the other parent attend family dispute resolution with a registered family dispute resolution practitioner.

There are five types of section 60I certificates that can be given.

The section 60I certificates are:

  1. That the person did not attend family dispute resolution because the other person refused or said they would not attend family dispute resolution.  This is a section 60I(8)(a) certificate.
  2. The family dispute resolution practitioner did not believe it was appropriate for the parties to have family dispute resolution due to the issues between them.  This is a section 60I(8)(aa) certificate.
  3. That the parties attended family dispute resolution and all parties made a genuine attempt to resolve the issues.  This is a section 60I(8)(b) certificate.
  4. That the parties attended family dispute resolution and that one of the parties did not make a genuine attempt to resolve the issues.  This is a section 60I(8)(c) certificate.
  5. That the parties attended family dispute resolution, but the family dispute resolution practitioner did not believe it was appropriate for the parties to continue due to the issues raised.  This is a section 60I(8)(d) certificate.

 

How Long Does a Section 60I Certificate Last?

When you have been issued a section 60I certificate it does not last forever.  A section 60i certificate is only valid for 12 months. After 12 months, you must obtain a new certificate if you have not commenced court proceedings.

One reason that section 60i certificates expire, is to promote genuine efforts by the parties to resolve issues before going to Court.  If enough time has passed since your last mediation, then it’s probably time to try again rather than going to Court. Sometimes the old adage, that time heals wounds is true, and the parties may no longer wish or need the assistance of the Courts.

Attending family dispute resolution and making a genuine attempt to resolve parenting and children’s issues can save time and costs. Overall, family dispute resolution is an effective way to help the family unit, and it can ease the burden and stress placed on children during this period of change.

Of course, there are certainly circumstances where family dispute resolution will not resolve the issues and the appropriate forum to resolve those issues is through the Courts.

Do I Always Need a Section 60I Certificate?

There are times when you do not need a section 60I certificate.  You can avoid having to obtain a section 60I certificate, to go to Court, where you fall into one of the exceptional categories listed below:
  • You are making an  Application for Consent Orders together with the other person;
  • You have already been to Court in the last 12 months and you want to go back;
  • You do not need to go to Court because the parenting issues can be resolved outside the Courts; or
  • You are raising a contravention by the other party to previous Court orders made.

 

What are the Exceptions for Having to Obtain a Section 60I Certificate?

The main exceptions from having to obtain a section 60I certificate when commencing parenting proceedings are:

  •  There are reasonable grounds to believe there has been abuse of a child;
  •  There are reasonable grounds to believe there is a risk that a child will be abused;
  •  There are reasonable grounds to believe there has been family violence; or
  •  There are reasonable grounds to believe there is a risk of family violence.

 

What are the Reasonable Grounds in Relation  to a Section 60I Certificate Exception?

Exceptions for having to obtain a section 60I certificate are based on “reasonable grounds”.

 

So, what are reasonable grounds?

When we submit an application to commence parenting proceedings and seek a section 60I certificate, the Court will make an assessment based on all of the relevant facts and circumstances provided to the Court.

If the Court believes from the facts and information put forward that there is a reasonable risk that a child has been or will be exposed to child abuse or family violence, the application will be scheduled for a hearing.

If the Court does not believe there are reasonable grounds for a section 60I certificate exemption, then you must go to a family dispute resolution before you can go to Court.

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