Guideline 3 – parties who are not parents

Guideline 3 – parties who are not parents

If Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) makes a grant of legal assistance for:

  • early intervention and dispute resolution
  • a court application for a parenting order
  • to discharge or vary a parenting order or a parenting plan

then usually the grant is made to one of the parents of the relevant child.

However, VLA may provide a grant of legal assistance in accordance with VLA’s family law guidelines to a party who is not a parent in court proceedings for parenting orders under the Family Law Act 1975 if either:

  • the person is significant to the care, welfare and development of the child (such as a grandparent)
  • VLA considers it to be in the child’s best interests.

For example, if the child’s safety or welfare is at risk, then it may be in the child’s best interests for VLA to provide a grant of legal assistance to a third party.

VLA considers that any adult who has primary care of the child, or who spends substantial time with the child, has standing to intervene as a third party or to issue proceedings in their own right.

If there are State child protection orders in place, or current court proceedings under a State child welfare law are on foot, and those orders or proposed orders are in favour of a person who is not a parent, VLA may make a grant of legal assistance to the extent necessary to secure the child’s best interests.

Applicants for legal assistance who are found by a court within the last 12 months to have contravened a Federal Circuit Court or Family Court of Australia order without reasonable excuse will not be eligible for a grant of legal assistance under this guideline or will have their grant of legal assistance terminated.