As from 1 July 2008, all parties have to obtain a certificate from a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner before they commence parenting proceedings in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia. Parties will not be able to file an Application in the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates Court seeking Orders in relation to children unless they have a certificate or an exemption is granted by the Registrar of the Court.
The certificate from the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner needs to say that:
- Mediation has not taken place because the other party refused to participate in mediation;
- Mediation has not taken place because it is not appropriate to conduct the proposed family dispute resolution;
- Mediation has taken place but no agreement was reached despite both parties genuine effort to resolve the issues in dispute;
- Mediation has taken place but no agreement was reached because one party did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issues in dispute.
- If a party wants to apply for an exemption from obtaining a certificate, they will have to prepare and send a covering letter to the Registrar together with an Affidavit setting out the reasons why an exemption should be granted.
A copy of the precedent Affidavit form can be found on the Family Court website at www.familycourt.gov.au. Not all mediators are recognised as being Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners, so parties will need to check whether their chosen mediator is appropriately qualified.
Please do not hesitate to contact Greg Dickson from our office on 9525 8688 for further information and advice.
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