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Commencing court proceedings for parenting matters

When separated parties are in dispute over parenting arrangements for children, the first thing they need to do if they cannot resolve the dispute themselves, is to arrange Family Dispute Resolution (FDR).

This is a mediation and there are several forms of FDR which you can choose from, including a private FDR or an FDR through a Family Relationship Centre. The one you choose, will depend upon your situation. If you cannot resolve your dispute at an FDR, then the FDR provider will issue a 60I Certificate and this will enable you to commence Court proceedings for parenting matters. You can, in only limited circumstances, commence such court proceedings for parenting without having a 60I Certificate.

The documents which you need to file at the Court to commence proceedings for parenting matters are as follows:

1. 60I Certificate (or if you think your matter falls in one of the limited exceptions – an Affidavit – Non-Filing of Family Dispute Resolution Certificate)

2. Initiating Application This document sets out the orders which you seek, including the Orders which you seek on a final basis and the orders which you are seeking that the Court make initially – the "interim orders".

3. Affidavit This document sets out your evidence, in support of why the Court should make the orders which you seek. It is very important that your Affidavit address what is called the "60CC factors", which are set out in the Family Law Act 1975.

4. Notice of Risk

It is very important that your documents are prepared properly and that they contain only relevant evidence, but at the same time, contain all of the relevant evidence. Poorly prepared documents are likely to negatively impact the outcome of your case.

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