LawAnswers.com.au - Australia's #1 Legal Community

LawAnswers.com.au is a community of 10,000+ Australians, just like you, helping each other.
Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
Join us, it only takes a minute:

NSW What are the Likely Costs of Self-Representing?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by sammy01, 22 September 2016.

  1. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 September 2015
    Messages:
    1,061
    Likes Received:
    125
    I have a mate whose ex is refusing him extra time with the kids. When he asked for an extra night, she said nope. Then she said he can only have 3 nights a fortnight, when he previously had 4.

    Madness.

    She won't mediate, just refused to show. So he has the certificate. He earned about $25 000 last year. So is Legal Aid an option?

    And if I help him with the paperwork to file an application to family court, what sort of costs is he likely to incur? He has walked away from the relationship with debt... She kept all the household appliances / furniture, etc., but he has the credit card debt. He ain't that worried about that bit, but the point I'm making is he is broke.

    So we need to know what the likely expenses of self-representing are gonna be before we even consider making the application. Any thoughts?
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 July 2014
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    423
    So, $25,000p.a. is ordinarily low enough to qualify for Legal Aid, but I tend to suggest getting Legal Aid funding through a private lawyer, rather than through Legal Aid directly.

    For our family, self-representing just for the parenting matter cost us about $1,700 (not including things like printing, copying, transport, all the usual things that lawyers charge for).

    The biggest expense once in Court was actually the fee for the first day of trial, which was $590, and I believe it's $590 per day thereafter. We also spent I think about $410 on filing the initiating application (interim and final), and another $110 on an application in a case. The initial mediation, before we knew anything about family law, cost $600 to have a lawyer present (and frankly, the outcome from that mediation was atrocious).

    During proceedings, we took advantage of Legal Aid's free consultation regime when we needed legal advice. They offer three free consultations for a single family law matter, and we found them very helpful - they provided templates, advice on what we needed to file, guidance for how to conduct cross-examination, and scanned over our affidavits to check they were okay. We also sought out I think one or two free initial consultations with private lawyers, mainly to get a view on whether a proposed change to the orders we were seeking would be viable or not.

    Without going into the ins and outs of the thing, there were three mentions, one major set of interim orders and two minor sets, one mediation session and orders for both parents to attend a post-separation parenting course, then the matter ended up settled by consent for 50/50 about two weeks before the first trial date.

    We avoided the costs of additional trial dates, a family report and appointment of an ICL. There was also no property settlement attached, so avoided costs of valuations, etc. Although rife with the usual complications (allegations of abuse, etc.), the parenting matter was essentially a fairly straight forward matter because the other parent's affidavit stated the child had a healthy relationship with both parents and both parents participated equally in care duties from birth.

    All in all, the child came away with a great outcome, at a cost of about $1,700 to us, and about $20,000 to the other parent.

    My husband self-represented from end to end, but ironically, we had decided between ourselves that we would get a barrister to represent him at trial because he was not confident about going before the Court alone.

    The next day, he received the first proposal for consent orders and a frustrated text message from the other parent complaining about the cost to her of going to trial when it was going to cost us nothing because we were self-represented. Had she known we were going to pay for representation at trial, I'm certain that we would have ended up in Court for a hearing, so we dodged a bullet there.

    The best way we kept costs down was by doing everything ourselves until we were facing trial. We could communicate with her lawyer directly, so it didn't cost us anything to forward proposals for settlement while proceedings were afoot, but we still enjoyed the benefit of legal advice from Legal Aid and others.

    But with that said, it comes down to confidence. Obviously, my husband benefits from having a wife with a law degree and lots of experience from inside a law firm, and I do try to share some of that here, as well, but getting guidance on the legislation is one thing. Actually drafting affidavits, filing forms and attending Court is another.

    Your friend benefits from you having that knowledge and experience, so in my view, self-represent at least until trial. Since 95% of initiating applications end up settled by consent, it's not likely he'll actually have to attend trial, anyway.
     
    SamanthaJay likes this.
  3. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 September 2015
    Messages:
    1,061
    Likes Received:
    125
    Thanks for your response. It is exactly what I wanted to hear. I doubt it will go to trial. Once enough pressure is applied she will give consent.
     
  4. tcss

    tcss Member

    Joined:
    23 September 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    So far my partner has self-represented and the only cost we are out is the filing fee's and the cost of an initial consultation with a lawyer to get advice. He's currently had 2 appearances - 1 to set the conference date and the first stage of the case assessment conference with a second stage set for January. So far we haven't had to pay for those appearances. Currently we are out of pocket around $800 (not including travel costs)

    So far self-representing has been fairly easy (neither of us has a background in law) - there is a ton of information available for those who choose to do so.
     

Share This Page

Loading...