You are not required to be represented by a lawyer, or to seek legal advice, before entering into consent orders or applying to the Court, or if you have been served with an application. However, family law is complex, and it is advisable to obtain legal advice before you make a decision about what to do or apply to the Court.
A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. They can also explain how the law applies to your case.
You can get legal advice from a:
- legal aid office
- community legal centre, or
- private law firm.
Court staff are not permitted by law to give you legal advice and cannot refer you to a private lawyer.
You will be expected to follow the Court’s rules and procedures, even if you Representing yourself.
Family Advocacy and Support Services
Each Australian state and territory has a Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS). FASS provides free legal advice and support at court for people affected by domestic and family violence.
If you are worried about your safety at court or about going to court, please talk to your local FASS before your court date.
- help you plan for your safety
- talk to the Court about your safety at court
- give you information and support during your family law case
- help with practical problems like Centrelink and housing
- advocate for you with services like police, and
- connect you with other services.
Depending on the type of case you are involved in, and on your personal and financial circumstances, you may be able to obtain free legal advice through Legal Aid in your state or territory.
Community Legal Centres
Community Legal Centres (CLCs) are independent community organisations that provide free legal advice and services. Some CLCs serve particular geographic areas, and some focus on particular areas of law, such as family law.
Find a private lawyer
The Court cannot refer you to a private lawyer. However, each state and territory has a professional association of lawyers, who can refer you to a lawyer who practises in family law.
The list below gives contact details of organisations that might be able to provide free or low-cost legal advice or assistance or the services of a lawyer. Listing the organisations below is not an endorsement of material on these websites, or of any associated organisation, product or service.