The first step towards the resolution of parenting disputes

Sam and I have been married for 12 years and together we have 2 children aged 4 and 8.  During the marriage we each performed the traditional husband and wife roles – Sam went to work and I stayed home to care for the children and the home.  During the relationship there was frequent arguments that resolved only when I gave in and Sam got his way.  We have now separated.  At first the separation was amicable but now we cannot seem to make any decisions in relation to the children without a heated argument.  Sam wants to have equal shared care of the children and I am frightened he will get it.  What can I do?

The Family Law Act 1975 says that before making an application to the Family Court for parenting orders, it is compulsory to first obtain what is called a section 60i certificate.   This certificate states that you have made a genuine effort to resolve a parenting dispute before seeking intervention from the Court.

Section 60i Certificates are issued by Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (FDR Practitioners).  Section 60i Certificates can be issued for the following reasons:

  1. One of the parties to the dispute did not attend mediation;
  2. The FDR Practitioner considered in the circumstances, mediation was not appropriate;
  3. One of the parties to the dispute did not make a genuine effort to resolve the dispute;
  4. Mediation commenced, but in the circumstances, the FDR Practitioner did not consider it appropriate to continue.

If you are either successful or unsuccessful in Family Dispute Resolution, or you would like advice before attempting Family Dispute Resolution, at Scanlan Carroll we provide a wide range of advice and services in relation to parenting orders, including:

  • Providing advice in relation to how the Court determines parenting disputes and the likely outcome of your dispute;
  • Negotiating on your behalf in relation to the terms of Parenting Orders;
  • Preparing Application for Consent Orders and drafting Minutes of Consent Orders;
  • Preparing Applications to the Court for Parenting Orders.

Seeing a lawyer does not have to be unpleasant.  At Scanlan Carroll we always keep in mind your and your children’s best interests and we understand the importance of parties to parenting disputes maintaining an ongoing relationship.  If you require family law advice, please contact Sharelle Staff or Wendy George on (03) 9853 0311.


This bulletin is provided for general information purposes only. Each person’s circumstances are different and the information contained in this bulletin should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice.

The information in this bulletin is current as at the date of publication