Monday, 2 July 2007

Family Dispute Resolution: Certificates required from 1st July

One of the largest changes made to the Family Law Act last year was the requirement, from 1st July this year to not be able to start children's proceedings in any court, such as the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates Court, without first obtaining a certificate from a family dispute resolution practitioner.

The intention is to encourage people to mediate and negotiate, rather than to go to court.

The compulsory need for the certificate has a number of exceptions, such as domestic violence. The devil is in the detail, as they say, and a person who is wanting to file without a certificate will need to prove to the clerk at the counter that he or she meets one of the exceptions. If not- go back to the start, get your certificate and then try, try again.

This change is seen as being huge, but for the very large number of children's matters where there is significant violence, matters will be able to start without the certificate.

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