New South Lawyers’ Family Law teams guides you through an understanding of the term  "genuine effort" in Family Dispute Resolution.

Why is it important to define genuine effort in family law dispute resolution?

A form of dispute resolution is a fundamental component of the family law system. However, dispute resolution is a requirement for all parties, and it can be challenging and frustrating when one party does not make a genuine attempt to resolve their dispute or participate meaningfully in mediation.

How is genuine effort in Family Law dispute resolution legally defined? 

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules (‘the Rules’) require parties to make a genuine effort to resolve the dispute before filing an application before the Court. Essentially, parties must try and settle their dispute outside of Court before they can start legal proceedings. They can try and settle their dispute through one of the dispute resolution processes, or they can informally settle it between themselves.  Some guidance has been provided by the Attorney General's Department, summarising that a genuine effort involves a "real, honest exertion or attempt, realistically directed at resolving the issues," as the Family Law Act or the above Rules do not define it. While this does not necessarily clarify what a ‘genuine effort’ is, there are many actions that parties can take which would fit into the Attorney General’s guide, including:  Firstly,  attending dispute resolution including mediation or family dispute resolution; Secondly,  the making or accepting of offers of settlement; Thirdly,  a willingness to consider options for settlement; Fourthly,  negotiating on disputes, offering alternatives and compromising on issues; and Finally,  a focus on the children’s needs and interests before their own. 

How do we show the court we made a genuine effort in Family Law dispute resolution?

If you are unable to resolve your dispute, a Family Dispute Resolution practitioner will issue you with a s60I Certificate if a genuine effort was made. We can challenge the practitioner if a Certificate is not issued, but these circumstances are rare.  Dispute resolution processes have a success rate of approximately 85% and making genuine attempts to resolve disputes through this method avoids lengthy and costly litigation. If you want more information please read our article on the Types of Dispute Resolution or contact a member of our Sydney Family Law Team on 02 9891 6388 for a confidential discussion.

New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. To that end, people should not rely on this communication as legal advice. Accordingly, they should seek formal legal advice for matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out more, chat with a member of New South Lawyers' Family Law Team today.