All about the Genuine Steps Certificate
As of 1 September 2021, The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia have merged to become the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA). Read more about the family law changes.
The merge has introduced several changes when initiating applications for parenting and financial matters.
One of the changes is the requirement to file a Genuine Steps Certificate.
What is the Genuine Steps Certificate?
When you are initiating proceedings for parenting and financial matters, there are a number of forms and documents that need to be filled out.
The Genuine Steps Certificate is one form that is required to be filed by the Applicant and the Respondent.
The Applicant must complete Parts A, B and D of the form. The Respondent must complete Parts A, C and D of the form.
What is the purpose of the Genuine Steps Certificate?
A Genuine Steps Certificate is part of the reformed pre-action procedures that need to take place prior to parties initiating court proceedings.
These pre-action procedures encourage parties to make a genuine effort to narrow their issues and resolve their dispute prior to initiating court proceedings. For instance, participating in negotiation or mediation if it is safe to do so, exchanging all financial information, formalising an agreement with respect to any resolved issues and providing written notice to the other party of your intention to start proceedings.
Exemptions in pre-action procedures
There are instances where parties can be exempted from complying with the pre-action procedures. For instance, where there have been incidents of family violence or risk of family violence, if the application is deemed to be urgent, or if the applicant would be unduly prejudiced by having to comply with the pre-action procedures.
What happens if I don’t file the Genuine Steps Certificate?
If no exemption has been sought, the court may stay the application until the pre-action procedures have been complied with.
If you need any assistance with filling out the new forms, our experienced family law lawyers can assist you with your separation, whatever stage it may be at.