Child Custody Disputes: First You Must Negotiate

By Carlos Turini – Accredited Family Law SpecialistCarlos Turini - Accredited Family Law Specialist

Separation is a very stressful time for parents and children.  The welfare of the children usually becomes the paramount concern for each parent.  In order to reduce the stress of the situation, the government introduced compulsory counselling and other major reforms in 2006.

The needs of each family when making parenting (custody) arrangements for children will vary from family to family but the following will generally need to be considered.

  • the age of the child or children
  • establishing a regular routine that can be flexible when required.
  • plan family occasions in advance
  • discuss how time will be spent with each parent and other family members such as grandparents and other relatives
  • after school care and school holiday care
  • health care, sport, discipline, religion and culture

Normally a party may not commence court proceedings about a child unless they have attended mediation  with an accredited family mediator who has issued a section 60I Certificate. [1] A mediator will issue such a certificate if parties engaged in mediation  and were unsuccessful or if one party refused to engage in the process.  The objective of the mediation is to try to make disputes between parents more harmonious and focussed on the needs of the child or children.

Only in very exceptional cases, such as urgent cases or cases where there has been domestic violence,  may parties commence court proceedings in relation to children immediately without the need to attend mediation.

A Section 601 certificate can be obtained  from many private counsellors and mediators  and those located in Family Relationship Centres established throughout Australia as well as other centres such as Relationships Australia and the Conflict Resolution Centre in Canberra.

Section 60I Certificate

A copy of the section 60I Certificate must be attached to the documents filed with the Court to initiate proceedings.

Child Custody Disputes – The Court Will Enquire About the Child’s Best Interests

Child Custody Disputes – “Primary” and “Additional” Considerations for the Court

For more information, contact Carlos Turini

p: (02) 6206 1300 | e: cturini@elringtons.com.au

[1] Section 601 Certificate