Guideline 5.4 – litigation for adults in child maintenance and adult child maintenance matters

Guideline 5.4 – litigation for adults in child maintenance and adult child maintenance matters

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of assistance to an adult for litigation under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) to:

  • apply for or respond to an application for child maintenance, including urgent child maintenance
  • apply for or respond to an application for adult child maintenance
  • apply for or respond to an application to discharge or vary a child maintenance or adult child maintenance order
  • apply for or respond to an application for arrears of child maintenance or adult child maintenance
  • apply for or respond to an application for enforcement of a child maintenance or adult child maintenance order

where

  1. the person has sought and is unable to obtain assistance from our Child Support Legal Service or a community legal centre
    or
  2. the person has been, or will be funded by us in relation to another family law matter
    and
  3. the following threshold tests are met:

Other mandatory requirements

As well as the requirements set out in this guideline, additional criteria apply in the following circumstances:

Where a person is not a parent of the child

Legal assistance in child maintenance matters is most commonly granted to one or both of the parents of the child. Where the person is not a parent of the child, the lawyer must also be satisfied that the person meets the requirements in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

Discharge or vary orders

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

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

Enforcement of orders

Where the person is seeking assistance for enforcement of existing orders, the person must also be alleging that there has been a substantial contravention of the order.

The following applies to grants of assistance for enforcement proceedings:

  • the request for legal assistance should be made without unreasonable delay after the orders have been contravened
  • the person requesting assistance for enforcement proceedings must seek a costs order against the other party from the court. For more information, refer to costs recovery
  • we treat grants of assistance for enforcement proceedings as a new matter for the purposes of family law cost management. This means that we will not include the amount of the grant when calculating the cost ceiling for the substantive matter (see Family law costs management).

Documentary requ​irements

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.

For more information about grants and applications, and the documentary evidence needed to support the application under each guideline, see the Notes on the Commonwealth family law and child support guidelines.

Fees available

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 child maintenance and adult child maintenance where Guideline 8 – Appeals is met.

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.