In this section
START OF Policies and procedures
START OF Grants Handbook
START OF What do we fund?
START OF Family law
END OF Family law
END OF What do we fund?
END OF Grants Handbook
END OF Policies and procedures
For legal aid to be granted for spousal maintenance, the following tests must be satisfied:
Applicants seeking a grant of legal assistance should forward all of the following documents for assessment:
Practitioners seeking a grant of legal assistance must electronically submit an application for aid via the Grants Online system attaching:
The following documents are retained on file but may be requested by Legal Aid Queensland:
Funding for spousal maintenance disputes under the Family Law Act 1975 can only be provided where the applicant is within the relationship criteria and the application for property settlement is within time.
Legal Aid Queensland will only fund spousal maintenance disputes where the applicant and other party were:
Legal Aid Queensland will only fund spousal maintenance disputes where the application for spousal maintenance is within time.
An application for:
If the application for spousal maintenance is outside the above time limits, Legal Aid Queensland will only consider funding an applicant out of time where they have been granted leave to commence proceedings outside of time by the court.
Legal Aid Queensland may consider the applicant cannot obtain an order by consent if:
Under this criteria, legal aid is only available for spousal maintenance if the applicant provides the address of the other party. If the applicant does not know the address of the other party, the applicant must provide the address of an immediate family member of the other party where they believe that substituted service is likely to be successful.
Legal Aid Queensland may consider the other party has capacity to pay if the other party is employed and/or has financial resources (e.g. veterans’ affairs pension) to satisfy the order sought, and these resources are not diminished by the other party’s special needs (e.g. health) or legal obligation to maintain dependents.
Legal Aid Queensland will only consider that an applicant cannot adequately prepare or defend a court application without legal representation if the applicant meets the Commonwealth legal aid service priorities - special circumstances of the applicant priorities.
In determining an applicant's prospects of success in obtaining a spousal maintenance order, Legal Aid Queensland will take into account the applicants:
Legal Aid Queensland will also take into consideration:
FM2A - initiate or respond to court proceedings
The grant of aid to initiate or respond to court proceedings provides for up to to three court attendances (which includes conciliation conferences). As an application for spousal maintenance should not involve an application for interim orders, the FM2B and FM2C grants of aid are not available.
The following extensions may be available:
If the solicitor represents the client at three court attendances and trial directions are not issued by the third court attendance, the FM2D grant is available for each appearance until trial directions are issued.
FM3A – prepare for trial (full merits assessment made). The grant of aid for trial preparation provides for up to two court attendances prior to trial commencement.
If the solicitor represents the client at two court attendances after trial directions are made and the trial does not commence by the third court attendance, the FM3C grant of aid is available for each appearance until the trial starts.
Solicitors may also request additional funding outside the stage model; the criteria applied to these requests are contained within nature and extent of funding.
Funding for spousal maintenance disputes will be provided subject to the right to recover a retrospective contribution.
A decision to refuse legal aid for this type of matter may be appealed to the external review officer (refer to review of decisions).