Here we take a look at how family counselling Perth is used as a means of resolving marriage disputes, out of court. Reconciliation and counselling are an important part of family law concerns and fall under the Family Law Act of 1975.
What is counselling in Family Law?
The Family Law Act defines counselling within family law to be a process where a family counsellor helps parties who are separating or divorcing so that they might make better decisions with parenting and personal concerns. It is not court-based and before a court can make a ruling on a parenting order both parties must go through family dispute resolution unless one of the following applies;
- If there is a history of family violence
- If the child has been abused by either or both parties
- If there is a risk of abuse with one or both parties
Counselling is an opportunity for each party to come up with an agreement for parenting without the court having to order anything. It is a valuable process and when agreements happen it is better for both parties emotionally and financially.
All information in any kind of counselling, family or marriage counselling is always confidential. Your counsellor can only reveal information when consent is given. They can break that confidentiality only if;
- A child is at risk of harm and disclosure would protect them
- Disclosure would protect a person or property from harm
- If an offence such as damage or violence is preventable
- If the child has an independent lawyer representing them then the counsellor might disclose information
If they disclose information from counselling, it cannot be used in court unless it is relevant to a case where there is family violence or child abuse.
When counselling is a consideration for both parties
If both parties see the possibility of reaching an agreement this way, then counselling should be the first step. While a family lawyer is important during this process, your lawyer can assess and advise clients on legal options and rights. Lawyers are not counsellors that can assist with the emotional impact of a family breakdown. Professional counsellors in family law are the best suited to assist with family counselling Perth and elsewhere. There are a number of options but they should be approved. You could ask your lawyer about options or check some of the larger options which include;
- Uniting Care
- Relationships Australia
- The Family Centre Inc
- The Family Relationships Institute
Section 601 certificate
After you have taken part in family dispute resolution and you are applying for a court order they will issue a section 601 certificate which will say one of the options below;
- That one or both refused to attend family dispute resolution
- That there was non-attendance because the counsellor deemed it was not appropriate
- Both parties attended but there was no genuine effort to resolve any of the issues
- Both parties attended and there was genuine effort to resolve the issues
- Both parties attended resolution but the counsellor felt it was inappropriate to carry on with it
Reconciliation is parties that have separated but then they resume the marriage or relationship. When a court is looking at decisions about parenting they will look at the chances of reconciliation and potentially refer the parties to marriage counselling or family counselling.