Family law guideline amendments

The Family Law Amendment Act 2023 (Cth) includes significant amendments to the framework for making parenting orders and new obligations in legislation for Independent Children’s Lawyers, with most measures taking effect on 6 May 2024.

In response to these amendments, Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) has reviewed its family law guidelines to ensure they align with current legislation.

The definition of a dispute about a substantial issue has been updated to include disputes concerning:

  • The safety of the child and their protection from family violence, abuse, neglect or other harm, or
  • The denial of the child’s right to have a safe and beneficial relationship with their parents and other significant people, or
  • The denial of the child’s right to enjoy their Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander culture.

Amendments have also been made to the Grants Handbook. Checklists available in Grants Online will be amended shortly.

The grants of aid available for Solicitors and Independent Children’s Lawyers (ICLs) were reviewed in March 2024 with additional hours applied taking into account changes in court processes. It is not expected that the new amendments will have a significant impact on current court processes.

The amendments include a requirement for ICLs to meet with the child, however LAQ has for some years included provision in grants of aid for the ICL to attend to this step, where necessary. Additional funding is available for travel time and expenses to meet this requirement where a personal attendance is assessed as being appropriate.

These changes will apply to grants of aid issued on or after 7 May 2024 other than where a matter is currently in trial or has been adjourned part heard.

If you have any questions, please contact your grants team.