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NSW Custody of Children - How Does Legal Aid Work?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by LeeM, 7 March 2016.

  1. LeeM

    LeeM Active Member

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    Hi,

    In short, I currently have 60/40 custody of children (2 children), based on family court orders after a couple interim hearings. My ex attempted to take the kids interstate without my agreement - I had to attain a recovery orders.

    In the meantime, over the last few months, I have offered to go to mediation to work out the issues, however, my ex just doesn't want to budge on her demands. While she has Legal Aid, she is just not willing to negotiate.

    If she continues to get Legal Aid, she will push this all the way to trial which we are now booked in for.

    Now, I am not against Legal Aid - It is very important that some people get the assistance when required to help their situation, but in my case, every claim made to date has not been proven, as no evidence exists at all, as her entire case is based on lies, but somehow she is still being represented.

    I have already spent $15K in legal costs and this is causing financial pressure. If this goes to trail, I won't be able to afford representation. All advice I have been given is that based on evidence to date, she is very unlikely to win at trial. This is very frustrating as this money should be going to the kids, but instead it will get wasted in family court.

    So, how does one get Legal Aid if their case isn't looking very strong?
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Is she represented by Legal Aid, or is she represented by a lawyer who has been approved to receive funding for her case by Legal Aid?
     
  3. LeeM

    LeeM Active Member

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    Actually she was with Legal Aid, but was then refused after 1st hearing. Now with a community lawyer funded by Legal Aid.
     
  4. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Look, it does suck but it is just a matter of being patient. You might find that Legal Aid / Community Legal Centres will not take it all the way to trial. They will advise her of the likely outcome and encourage compromise. If she doesn't play along wth their advice, they just might refuse to help her.

    Now the other benefit to Legal Aid is they will encourage her to settle early. She might not take the advice but she will have to start understanding the reality of the situation. When you pay for a solicitor, sometimes they are happy to drag a case out because it gets them more money. Not the case with Legal Aid.

    Just out of interest, what is it she is after? Given you've already got substantial care, what is the issue? Relocation or something else?
     
  5. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Legal Aid rarely ever funds cases through trial. It is highly motivated to settle and will generally withdraw funding where the client refuses to instruct according to the legal advice given. This is to your advantage, but it may mean that she won't negotiate a settlement until the day of trial itself. If you already have 60/40 under interim orders from the court, then there's a good chance Legal Aid will withdraw funding if she is seeking 80/20.
     
  6. Anubis

    Anubis Well-Known Member

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    There is an arcane system of financial and merit assessment. it is getting harder and harder to get. If you have a share in a house worth more than $200k or have a job then it is unlikely you will get the funding.
    Think of the following as an investment:

    Get a lawyer to draft your documents for you, especially your trial affidavit.

    Save for a barrister and solicitor. It is a lot of money, but there are good lawyers out there who are reasonable.

    Good luck
     
  7. teflongirl

    teflongirl Well-Known Member

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    Try going to Law Society and see their pro bono section. Worth a try!
     

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