The courts are currently so bogged down with cases that the judges are pushing people to try and attempt settlement outside of the court system.

In fact, section 60i of the Family Law Act specifies that parents can not start an application for parenting unless they had first attempted to negotiate an agreement through mediation.

If mediation does not work out the parents are then give a section 60i certificate (gotta love original naming conventions).

Any parenting application filed in court – that is not urgent or does not relate to family violence or abuse putting the children at risk – will need to have a section 60i certificate filed with it.

These certificates are issues by family law mediators or at mediation facilities such as Relationships Australia and Unifam.

With mediation settlement rates being high, it is a wonderful opportunity for separated parents to give mediation a real go instead of thinking of mediation as a checkpoint that needs to be passed before going to court.

By Nadia Messiha