Child Custody Disputes in Cairns

In Cairns, the Family Law Act plays a pivotal role in shaping the resolution process for parents embroiled in disputes over their child’s parenting arrangements. A crucial step mandated by this Act is the attendance of mediation for parents who cannot reach an agreement on their own. Before initiating an Application for a parenting Order in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, they must first obtain a Section 60I Certificate, a prerequisite highlighting their compliance with the mediation process.

Child Custody Disputes
Child Custody Disputes in Cairns

These certificates, issued by accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners, come in several types. The first scenario involves non-attendance due to the other party’s refusal or failure to participate. Another circumstance is when the practitioner deems the situation unsuitable for Family Dispute Resolution, leading to the non-attendance of one or both parties. Alternatively, if parties attend but do not genuinely attempt to resolve issues, or if one party fails to make a genuine effort, the practitioner may issue a certificate accordingly.

Since March 2009, a new type of certificate has been introduced, indicating that the mediation commenced but was deemed inappropriate to continue. These certificates shed light on the dynamics and efforts invested in the resolution process.

When filing a court application, presenting a copy of the signed Section 60I Certificate is mandatory, unless the court recognises a valid exemption. Exemptions are rare, and the court generally requires compelling reasons to accept an application without the accompanying certificate. This stringent requirement underscores the significance of mediation in child custody matters, emphasising the court’s preference for resolving disputes amicably before resorting to legal proceedings.


Cairns families navigating the complexities of child custody disputes are encouraged to explore mediation, recognising its role as a pivotal step in the legal process. The Section 60I Certificate serves as tangible evidence of genuine efforts towards resolution, fostering an environment conducive to the best interests of the child involved.

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