Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) or mediation is now required in all parenting matters before Court proceedings can be initiated. This means you must have at least tried or been invited to participate in mediation. To issue Court proceedings a Section 60I Certificate will need to be obtained from the mediator. This certificate either states that one party refused to attend or that mediation with both attending was unsuccessful.
There are exceptions to the requirement of a Mediation Certificate in the following circumstances:-
- if the case is an urgent one, for example where a child has been retained by the other parent or another family member
- where the location of the other parent is unknown and an order called a location order is required
- if there are allegations of some form of abuse be at sexual abuse or physical abuse of a child or parent
Mediation is confidential and the information disclosed during mediation is unable to be brought up at court later on. There are a few exceptions to this including if there is a risk of harm to any person or child or to the property of any person involved
Mediation can take place through one of the Government Funded organisation set up for this purpose (eg Relationships Australia or the Family Mediation Centre) or privately where you and your former partner agree to a mediator and share the costs, either with your lawyers or without. If agreement is reached the Mediators will refer you back to the lawyers to document the Agreement to ensure the terms are binding on both parties.