Guideline 1.11 – litigation in combined parenting and property disputes

Guideline 1.11 – litigation in combined parenting and property disputes

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of legal assistance for a person for litigation to apply for or respond to a combined parenting and property application where:

  1. Guideline 1.3 – litigation for adults in parenting disputes is met
    and
  2. either or both of the following applies in relation to the property dispute:
    1. One party is seeking to retain the family home (where that party’s equitable interest is $500,000 or less) and the applicant for legal assistance will receive no payment
      and/or
    2. the matter involves:
      1. a superannuation split
        and/or
      2. a pool of equity of less than $50,000 (excluding superannuation)
        or
      3. a negative asset pool (ie debt alone)

and

  1. where the person applying for assistance is the person making the application to the court, there must be evidence kept on the file showing:
    1. that there has been an attempt to resolve the disputes by attending family dispute resolution and that a required section 60I certificate has been issued in relation to the disputes
      or
    2. where a required section 60I certificate has not been issued in relation to the disputes, 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.

Fees available

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

Costs where an independent children's lawyer (ICL) is appointed

In matters where an ICL is appointed, parties may be required to contribute to the costs of the ICL. For more information, see Contribution to the cost of representation by an ICL.

Documentary requirements

Applications for assistance under this guideline are within the simplified grants process and are submitted through our online lodgment service, ATLAS. Lawyers submitting an application must ensure that evidence supporting the application is kept on the file.

Lawyers are also encouraged to complete a Family law worksheet and a Proof of means worksheet for their file, available on the Invoice, forms and worksheets page.

Ongoing assessment that client meets the guidelines

The lawyer must inform us if, at any point during the life of the grant, they are no longer satisfied that the client meets the guideline, including the Commonwealth merits test and the substantial issue in dispute test.

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 1.11.