Although some exceptions do apply, Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is required mediation for most family divorces in Western Australia. In order to apply to the Family Court for the required parenting orders, divorcing couples must present a 601 certification from an accredited FDR practitioner. The practitioner has the authority to issue one of five different 601 certifications, which will determine your next step for divorce.
The five 601 certification types include:
- Not completed because a participant failed or refused to attend.
- Not completed because the practitioner decided that it would be inappropriate to conduct an FDR.
- All participants were in attendance, but one or more failed to make a genuine effort to resolve the issues in dispute.
- FDR was attempted, but part way through the practitioner decided it was not appropriate to continue.
- All participants attended and made a genuine effort to resolve the issues in dispute. FDR has been successfully completed.
It is important to note that, depending on the type of certification issued, courts may award costs against a party who failed to attend or did not make a genuine effort to resolve disputes.
Securing a Completed Certification
In order to secure a completed 601 certification, there are specific goals that you must attempt to reach. These goals should focus on the following:
- Well-being of the child. FDR should always be child-focused. The goal is to negotiate terms that will promote the best interests of the children.
- Parenting suitability. Mediation should be a place where you and your partner can amicably assess parenting techniques and address issues such as punishment styles and abuse. Based on past issues of family violence, practitioners may decide that an FDR may be too dangerous to continue.
- Negotiation. It is a requirement that participants be able to negotiate on their own behalf in order to determine what is best for their children. However, if needed, there are methods to support clients through their negotiations, including options to have a lawyer present, or having the mediation conducted in separate rooms for safety’s sake.
Above all else, when you’re participating in a family dispute resolution, you need to remember that it’s your children’s future that is the focus. Petty arguments should be left out of it, and special attention should be paid.