The Legal Services Commission recognises the benefits of assisting clients to resolve their family law disputes through processes other than litigation in the courts. However the Commission provides legal assistance in those difficult family disputes where FDR services are inappropriate or have not succeeded.
Free legal advice is available in person or by telephone. Contact our Free Legal Helpline on 1300 366 424.
The Commission also provides advice and/or representation to parties in family law matters including:
- divorce and separation
- children's issues
- child support and maintenance
- property settlement
- intervention orders
- other family law issues including injunctions, location and recovery orders, breach and enforcement orders, and disputes about children's passport applications.
In cases where the Family Law Courts have ordered the appointment of an Independent Children's Lawyer to represent the best interests of the child in a parenting dispute before the Court, the Commission provides experienced and accredited Independent Children's lawyers to perform this important role.
The Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS) (consisting of duty lawyers and social support services) is available at the Family Law Courts to provide advice and assistance to self represented litigants who are currently involved in court proceedings or are about to start court proceedings.
Where an allegation of family violence has been raised in family law proceedings, personal cross-examination may be banned. Where the ban applies, cross-examination must be conducted by a lawyer. Parties need to hire a private lawyer or apply for representation from the Commission under the Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross-Examination of Parties Scheme.
The Commission works collaboratively with other organisations involved in the family law system such as other legal aid providers and family relationship centres both individually and through the South Australian Family Law Pathways Network.
In addition, the Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Unit and the Commission's child and family counsellors provide family law conferencing and general FDR services to clients.