Guideline 9 – property disputes

Guideline 9 – property disputes

Note that available grants for new matters under the Lawyer-assisted Family Law Property Mediation: Legal Aid Commission Trial funding has been exhausted and the guideline has now been suspended. Existing grants will remain in place, and you can still submit extension requests. Recommencement of this grant for legal assistance in family law property matters is subject to a further investment from the Commonwealth Government.

A grant of legal assistance in relation to disputes about property (including debt) in family law matters may be available in limited circumstances under the Commonwealth funded Lawyer-assisted Family Law Property Mediation: Legal Aid Commission Trial (the trial). The trial is limited to the first 100 eligible parties, or when funding for the trial is exhausted (whichever comes first).

For the trial, some Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) threshold tests do not apply. Parties only need to meet the forum test, the assessable income test included in the mean test (the assessable asset test will be suspended for the purpose of the trial) and the criteria set out in this grant guideline. Parties may be liable to pay a contribution, based on their assessable income.

It is expected that, where appropriate, an application for spousal maintenance or de facto partner maintenance will be made under s. 74 or s. 90SE of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) within the trial grant of assistance and not under Guideline 6 – spousal maintenance.

If parties have children, to be eligible for a grant of assistance under the trial, they must have:

  1. no current legal parenting dispute, or
  2. be eligible for a grant of legal assistance for their parenting dispute, noting the trial guideline will not alter eligibility for parenting matters.

Where a party is a priority Family Dispute Resolution Services (FDRS) client, the following guidelines are available:

A grant of legal assistance under the trial is not available under special circumstances.