Guideline 1.8 – litigation for child litigants in parenting disputes

Guideline 1.8 – litigation for child litigants in parenting disputes

Note: The lawyer is not required to assess eligibility under this guideline. Applications are submitted to ATLAS for assessment by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA).

VLA may make a grant of assistance to a child litigant for litigation in a parenting dispute to:

  • apply for or respond to an application for parenting orders
  • apply for or respond to an application to discharge or vary existing parenting orders
  • apply for or respond to an application for contravention or enforcement of parenting orders or for contempt of court

where

  1. it is appropriate for the child litigant to participate in litigation
    and
  2. the parent, or person with parental responsibility, who would otherwise make the application is genuinely unwilling or unable to do so
    and
  3. the following threshold tests are met:
  1. where the person applying for assistance is the person who is making the application to the court, there is evidence kept on the file showing:
    1. that there has been an attempt to resolve the dispute by attending family dispute resolution and that a required section 60I certificate has been issued in relation to the dispute
      or
    2. where a required section 60I certificate has not been issued in relation to the dispute, that it is an urgent matter.

Being issued with a required section 60I certificate doesn’t always mean that a grant of assistance to attend the Family Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS) is inappropriate. Even where a section 60I certificate has been issued, the lawyer must consider whether attendance at FDRS is appropriate and could help the parties to resolve the dispute, before applying for a litigation grant. This doesn’t apply if the matter is an urgent matter.

Other mandatory requirements

As well as the requirements set out in Guideline 1.8, an additional criterion applies in the following circumstances:

Discharge or vary orders

Where the person is applying for assistance to discharge or vary existing parenting orders, there must also have been a significant change in circumstances since the parenting order was made.

If the significant change in circumstances has been caused by the applicant, we will consider the circumstances surrounding that change in deciding whether it is appropriate to make a grant of legal assistance to the applicant.

Documentary requirements

Lawyers submitting an application must ensure that evidence supporting the application is uploaded to ATLAS with the application.

Fees ava​ilable

For information about fees available for a grant under this guideline, see Fee table 4.1.

Appeals

We may provide a grant of legal assistance for an appeal relating to a parenting dispute where Guideline 8 – Appeals is met.

Notes on this guideline

For commentary and examples on the eligibility criteria, grants assessment process, documentary requirements and fees and billing relevant to this guideline, see the Notes on guideline 1.8.