New legal aid guidelines to focus on family law and custody battles

Scared Woman Protecting Herself (Image courtesy of Ambro, FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Recent cuts in funding for Victoria Legal Aid have had a significant impact in the field of family law.

As a result of the limited resources available, many parties involved in child custody battles have had to endure the traumatic experience of representing themselves against their former partner, even in cases where family violence has been present.

However, the introduction of a new family law funding guideline will provide increased funding and assistance to specific cases of family law disputes. The new targeted funding introduced on 1 September 2014, will now effect:

  • applicants with a diagnosed mental or intellectual disability
  • instances where the other party has received a conviction for family violence related offences and/or received a conviction for breaching an intervention order
  • cases where the applicant has been relocated with assistance from the courts or police, for fears of personal safety
  • disputes where the other party is receiving pro-bono legal assistance or is being represented privately.

The change in funding was welcomed by many, including principal lawyer, Helen Matthews, of Women’s Legal Service, who stated that the new guidelines would greatly assist women, as they were previously re-traumatised by the court process and having to represent themselves.

Commonwealth funding for legal aid has dropped significantly from approximately 50% in 1997, to around one-third.

If you or someone you know requires assistance in dealing with a family law matter, don’t hesitate to contact Rowan Skinner & Associates Lawyers. As accredited family law specialists, we work with you to try and reach a resolution that you can be satisfied with.

Source:

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/legal-aid-restored-for-family-violence-victims-20140831-109ers.html

Image courtesy of Ambro, FreeDigitalPhotos.net