Guideline 8 – arrears of spousal or child maintenance or child support

Guideline 8 – arrears of spousal or child maintenance or child support

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of legal assistance for an application for arrears of maintenance or child support if the person seeking assistance:

  • cannot adequately prepare the court application or present the case to the court without legal assistance
    and
  • cannot obtain appropriate legal assistance from another source (see below)
    or
  • the person seeking assistance has or will also be funded for court proceedings in relation to another family law matter.

The applicant for legal assistance must seek assistance for matters involving arrears of spousal or child maintenance or child support from VLA’s Child Support Legal Service or a community legal centre in the first instance.

VLA will not make a grant of legal assistance to a lawyer for child maintenance or child support matters unless the applicant for legal assistance is unable to obtain appropriate assistance from VLA’s Child Support Legal Service or a community legal centre, or there are compelling circumstances (for example, the practitioner is also acting for the applicant for legal assistance in a parenting matter).

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.

Inability to adequately prepare or present a court application

A person applying for a grant of legal assistance may not be able to adequately prepare or present a court application for payment of arrears of child maintenance or child support because either:

  • the person meets one of the Commonwealth’s special circumstances criteria
  • the dispute involves complicated financial arrangements (for example, farms, family trusts, small businesses or corporations).

Child Support Legal Service

VLA has a Child Support Legal Service to help eligible parents who have legal problems in relation to getting or paying child maintenance or child support.

The Child Support Legal Service regularly visits VLA offices and most major regional centres. The service may also help people by telephone.

The Child Support Legal Service can help eligible people by:

  • giving advice
  • preparing documents
  • representing people in court.

For more information see Child Support Legal Service.

Community legal centres

The following community legal centres provide a similar child support service: