Guideline 7 – spousal maintenance

Guideline 7 – spousal maintenance

7.1 – assistance for applications for spousal maintenance

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of legal assistance in relation to a spousal maintenance matter under the Family Law Act 1975 or the Family Court Act 1997 (WA) in order to either:

  • make or respond to an application for a spousal maintenance order
  • make or respond to an application to vary a spousal maintenance order.

VLA must be satisfied that:

  • the applicant for assistance cannot obtain the order by consent
  • the other party’s whereabouts are known, or substituted service is likely to be successful
  • there is good reason to believe that the other party has the capacity, or is likely to have the capacity in the future, to pay to the applicant either spousal maintenance, or increased maintenance
  • the applicant for assistance cannot adequately prepare or defend the court application without legal assistance
  • the applicant for assistance cannot obtain appropriate legal assistance from another source.

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.

Early intervention and dispute resolution

VLA will grant assistance for early intervention and dispute resolution for spousal maintenance matters in the first instance.

Victoria Legal Aid Family Dispute Resolution Service is our in-house family dispute resolution service. If a grant of legal assistance requiring the services of a mediator is made, then Victoria Legal Aid Family Dispute Resolution Service must provide those services.