Representing yourself in a family law case

If you are well prepared, self-representation in the Family Court is possible for some matters. Information is available from the court to help manage straightforward applications for dissolution of marriage (e.g. where the divorce application is not contested by the other party and no children are involved). The Family Court also provides free do-it-yourself divorce kits on its website (www.familycourt.gov.au). (Note that you must pay a fee to lodge an application for divorce, even if it is straightforward; the fees are listed on the Family Court’s website.)

However, it is strongly advised that you seek legal advice if the matter is more complex (e.g. if there are disagreements about the care of the children or the division of property). When your relationship has broken down, it can be extremely difficult to deal with your ex-partner in a court setting, particularly if they have legal representation and you do not.

Community legal centres can provide free legal advice on family law matters, and some community legal centres provide regular workshops for the public on family law and divorce.

Also, you can get free advice and guidance by phoning VLA’s Legal Help phone line (1300 792 387), where you could receive one-off advice and information, or be directed to see a lawyer at a VLA office in your area.