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Policies

5. Family Law Matters – when legal aid is available

5.4. Varying or discharging parenting orders –including independent children's lawyers

5.4.1 Parenting matters – varying or discharging parenting orders - legal aid for parents

Eligibility requirements

For legal aid to be granted to parents for court applications to vary or discharge parenting orders made under the Family Law Act 1975(Cth) , the following tests must be satisfied:

Note: Where the applicant for legal aid is in custody see Family Law Guideline 2.19.

ERA for early intervention mediation in family law disputes

Early intervention mediation for family law disputes is administered as an Early Resolution Assistance (ERA) service. All early intervention mediations must be provided by the Legal Aid NSW FDR Unit.

See ERA for early intervention mediation for eligibility requirements.

Legal aid for court proceedings

The applicant will be granted legal aid for court proceedings where Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that:

  • the eligibility requirements in 5.4.1 are satisfied, and
  • the applicant has a certificate issued under s60I of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) in relation to the dispute, or
  • the matter is urgent.

The s60I certificate must be issued by the Legal Aid NSW FDR Service.

Note: In parenting matters which are proceeding to litigation, Legal Aid NSW, in deciding whether there is a dispute about a substantial issue, will not consider that a dispute which is limited to the amount of time a child spends with a parent is a substantial issue unless Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that the legal aid applicant or child is at a significant disadvantage.

Applicants with property settlement matters

If the applicant's parenting matter could be or is being conducted with their property settlement matter under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), legal aid is only available for the parenting matter if:

  • the applicant has been granted legal aid or is eligible for legal aid for the property settlement proceedings, or
  • there are exceptional circumstances.

5.4.2 Parenting matters – varying or discharging parenting orders - legal aid for people who are not parents

Eligibility requirements

For legal aid to be granted to people who are not parents for court applications to vary or discharge parenting orders made under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) , the following tests must be satisfied:

  • the applicant for legal aid is significant to the care, welfare and development of the relevant child, and
  • it is in the child's best interests.

ERA for early intervention mediation in family law disputes

Early intervention mediation for family law disputes is administered as an Early Resolution Assistance (ERA) service. All early intervention mediations must be provided by the Legal Aid NSW FDR Unit.

See ERA for early intervention mediation for eligibility requirements.

Legal Aid for Court proceedings

The applicant will be granted legal aid for court proceedings where Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that:

The s60I certificate must be issued by the Legal Aid NSW FDR Service.

Note: In parenting matters which are proceeding to litigation, Legal Aid NSW, in deciding whether there is a dispute about a substantial issue, will not consider that a dispute which is limited to the amount of time a child spends with a parent is a substantial issue unless Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that the legal aid applicant or child is at a significant disadvantage.

5.4.3 Parenting matters – varying or discharging parenting orders - legal aid for children

Eligibility requirements

For legal aid to be granted to children for court applications to vary or discharge parenting orders made under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), the following tests must be satisfied:

Legal aid will not be granted to a child if:

  • the FDR or court proceedings should have been initiated by a parent or a person who has parental responsibility for the child, or
  • the matter could have been dealt with by an order for the appointment of an independent children's lawyer.

ERA for early intervention mediation in family law disputes

Early intervention mediation for family law disputes is administered as an Early Resolution Assistance (ERA) service. All early intervention mediations must be provided by the Legal Aid NSW FDR Unit.

See ERA for early intervention mediation for eligibility requirements.

Legal aid for court proceedings

The applicant will be granted aid for court proceedings where Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that:

The 60I certificate must be issued by the Legal Aid NSW FDR Unit.


Date Last Published: 10/01/2022