Section 60I Family Law Act advises people to resolve family disputes before applying for a Part VII order. Part VII orders deal with issues related to parental responsibility and other matters affecting children.
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) or mediation is a process that helps families come to an agreement about their family dispute. Some of these disputes may include:
Moreover, FDR is a more cost-effective way of settling disputes rather than court proceedings. Section 60I of the Family Law Act 1975 also highlights the importance of a Part VII order or parenting order.
Essentially, courts use parenting orders to deal with decisions about child care matters. This article will discuss Section 60I of the Family Law Act and the importance of mediation and parenting orders.
The Importance Of Family Dispute Resolution
Generally, family dispute practitioners will handle this process and see if the parties made “genuine efforts” to resolve the dispute. Then, practitioners will award parties a Section 60I certificate that confirms their genuine effort in resolving their dispute.
Essentially, practitioners hold family dispute resolution sessions by focusing on the child’s best interests. This way, parties are able to prioritise the child’s safety and well-being. It’s the parents’ responsibility to uphold the child’s best interests. On the other hand, failure to make peaceful amendments will result in a “no genuine effort” certificate.
Parties not showing genuine effort may receive a penalty of paying legal costs in possible legal proceedings. However, there may be instances where it’s not necessary or possible for parties to attend a family dispute resolution.
Some of these instances are if family violence or child abuse was evident in the case. Also, family dispute resolution may not be used for parties having health concerns or travelling issues. Therefore, it’s possible to be exempted from a family dispute resolution. The family dispute resolution process will include:
- Resolving identified issues
- Both parties listening to each other without interruption
- Presenting relevant evidence and information
- Navigating ideas and options
Section 60I Family Law Act: Part VII Orders
Notably, parents can only opt for a parenting order if their parenting plan doesn’t work out. Parenting plans are basically informal arrangements that parents can make themselves. Parenting orders may also include the following:
Who the child will live with;
How much time will a parent get in spending with his/her child;
Administration of parental responsibility;
The child’s modes of communication with the other parent; and
Any relevant care arrangements, welfare, or development of the child.
Section 60J: FDR and Family Violence or Child Abuse
(1) This Section states that if certain subsections of Section 60I do not apply to the application because the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that:
- there has been abuse of the child by one of the parties to the proceedings, or
- there has been family violence by one of the parties of the proceedings
Then the court must not hear the case until the applicant has indicated in writing that a family counsellor has given them information about FDRS available in cases of violence or abuse.
(2) However, the above-mentioned point does not apply if the court believes that:
- There would be a risk of abuse or harm to the child if there were a delay in applying for the order, or
- There is a risk of family violence by one of the parties to the proceedings
Moreover, if the parties indicate in writing that they have not received information about alternative dispute resolution, and if subsection (2) above is not applicable then:
- The principle executive officer of the court concerned must refer the applicant to a FDRS practitioner or family counsellor who can provide the necessary information.
Once a parenting order is in place, separated or divorced parents may co-parent or work together towards caring for their children. This may involve the parents making short-term or long-term decisions for their child’s development. Indeed, family disputes cause a lot of tension between families especially when children are involved.
Thus, there may be chances where a party may seek a lawyer when parenting plans don’t go their way. Our family lawyers at JB Solicitors can help parents settle disputes and arguments with our mediation services. With our fixed fees, we can ensure that you get the best legal advice for your parenting disputes.
Contact JB Solicitors today for your family dispute matters.