Under what circumstances is family dispute resolution not required?

17-March-2014 Family Law By Simone Green

(How to gain an exemption from a Section 60I Certificate)

Before you can file an application in the Family Law Court in relation to parenting, you and the other parent must attend family dispute resolution (FDR) to try and resolve the issues. If the matter does not resolve out of court, or the other party does not attend, you will be issued with a Section 60I Certificate, which will allow you to then file an application to have the case heard in Court.

However, there are exceptions to this requirement. These include:

  • Sensitive cases which involve family violence or child abuse
  • Sufficiently urgent circumstances that require an urgent Court hearing

Family violence or child abuse

If family violence or child abuse is present, dispute resolution is not compulsory. In these cases, the court needs a reason to believe that one or more parties are at risk from violence.

Urgency to resolve an issue

You may also be exempted from participating in dispute resolution if your matter is “sufficiently urgent”. Circumstances that have been considered “sufficiently urgent” include where one party has failed to return the child, or where one party is about to unilaterally relocate without the other party’s permission.

In a recent case, Carmel-Fevia & Fevia (No.2) [2013] FamCA 383, a child’s separation anxiety was also found to be urgent. In this case, the mother argued that her application was exempt from requiring a Section 60I Certificate on the basis that her 10-year-old child was anxious about being separated from her and this anxiety was causing the child chronic stomach pains and nausea. The Judge was satisfied that this constituted an exemption.

If you are considering initiating parenting proceedings and are not sure if you are required to attend dispute resolution, contact one of Streeterlaw’s Family Law experts today. If we consider your matter to be urgent, we can prepare your application instantly. Call Streeterlaw on 
(02) 8197 0105 or email advice@streeterlaw.com.au

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