Family Law Act 1975 – Section 60J
A person does not need to attend Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) before making an application to the court about a child in a number of circumstances including where there has been family violence, child abuse or risk of family violence or child abuse.
In determining whether a dispute is appropriate for FDR, the FDR practitioner must take into account whether the ability of any party to negotiate freely is affected by a number of factors, all of which are potentially relevant to cases of violence. These include:
The FDR Regulations also require that an FDR practitioner must be satisfied of the appropriateness of FDR in each case before providing FDR. An FDR practitioner is also obliged to terminate FDR if the practitioner is no longer satisfied it is appropriate, or is requested to do so by a party.
The framework in s 60I applies only to parenting orders. In relation to applications for financial disputes, the requirements are set out in the Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth). Consistently with s 60I, the Rules include mechanisms for removing obligations to participate in FDR in cases of family violence.
A key element of FDR in practice is the process of screening and risk assessment which is designed to ensure that victims of family violence are not using FDR in inappropriate circumstances, or to identify and mitigate any risk factors where FDR may be appropriate despite such risks.
What are the exceptions to providing a certificate?
Under section 60I(9) of the Act, you can seek an exemption from providing a certificate in the following circumstances: