Obtaining and Using a Family Dispute Resolution Certificate

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If a parent wants to apply for a Court order relating to children’s matters arising from a parenting dispute, they generally need to obtain a certificate from a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. This certificate provides evidence that a genuine effort has been made to resolve the issue.

At what point do I need to obtain a certificate?

It is mandatory to have a certificate before parenting proceedings can begin.

Are there exceptions to this requirement?

Yes. If it can be shown it was not possible or appropriate to obtain a certificate, for example in cases of urgency or where allegations of family violence exist, the Court may grant an exception.

What is involved?

The Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner will meet with the parents (either jointly or separately) to identify issues and explore options for reaching agreement about their dispute. This process is confidential. Children are not involved, although parents can expand the mediation to include their children.

What happens if I don’t get a certificate?

If no exception applies, there can be serious consequences (including costs) for failing to obtain a certificate. The Court may also refuse to file a parenting application which will result in delays and stress for the parents.

Who qualifies as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner?

A practitioner has to meet specific requirements under the Family Law Act in order to provide out of court family dispute resolution and to issue certificates. A practitioner may be a sole operator or a member of an organisation and is highly trained in resolving family disputes.

How can I start this process?

We can assist you in finding an appropriate Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and can also advise whether any exceptions apply in your case.