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ACT What is the Difference Between Legal Aid and Funded Lawyer?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by goodgravy, 11 May 2016.

  1. goodgravy

    goodgravy Well-Known Member

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    My ex has a grant for a legal aid family law conference seeking relocation with our three kids. We have current parenting orders in place. We are taking our lawyer along. After the last 8 years of attempted and failed family relationship mediation efforts I (while I will try my hardest to reach a resolution) am not anticipating a good outcome.

    We can't afford to go to family court and unless my ex is granted further legal aid then it's unlikely she will be able to either. What happens when two parties reach an impasse like this? Life carries on as usual?

    (What's the difference between being funded by legal aid and having a lawyer who is funded to represent you?)
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    I highly doubt Legal Aid will fund a relocation case. She might get a lawyer who can apply for funding on her behalf, which is what a funded lawyer is. Again, unlikely - it's a relocation case. For lack of a better expression, relocation is optional, so it probably won't attract funding.

    If parents reach an impasse, then you just revert to the orders as usual.
     
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  3. goodgravy

    goodgravy Well-Known Member

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    Huh. Ok, thanks for your thoughts AllForHer. They're appreciated. I live about half an hour away from my ex and the kids spend 4 days a week at hers, 3 days (inc weekends) at mine. She has implied that if she cant relocate she will at least be seeking to get them to live with her full time.

    What do you think chances of legal aid for a change to parenting orders like this will be? Given that they *seem* to work well for the most part for the kids (there's 3 of them aged 10 to 16 and they swing wildly from wanting to live full time with one or the other parent depending on who's irritating them most).
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, it's impossible to predict. The 16-year-old might have their views heard well enough to influence an outcome that basically says 'That the child X spend time with each parent in accordance with his/her wishes', but the views of the younger two might be given less weight. If current orders are working reasonably well, the court will be reluctant to change them.

    If you have current orders, your ex is going to have to overcome the first hurdle of commencing new proceedings, which is meeting the rules of Rice & Asplund - basically, final orders should not be changed unless it can be proven that there has been a significant change in circumstances such that the current orders no longer reflect the best interests of the children. If you haven't moved, and she hasn't moved, and there are no other mitigating factors to suggest the current orders shouldn't be upheld, then the court might dismiss an application anyway. Legal Aid probably won't fund a Rice & Asplund case, either. Generally speaking, Legal Aid prefers to fund cases seeking the fundamental 'time spent with' arrangements, but cases for things like passports, relocation, changes to orders, etc. are usually rejected.

    You should consider doing a child-inclusive mediation session, too. A professional will speak to the kids to ascertain their views, and then pass those views on to you and the other parent so you can decide an outcome with the kids' wishes in mind.
     
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  5. goodgravy

    goodgravy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks AllForHer. I thought perhaps that the legal aid family law conference (is this what is referred to as family dispute resolution in some other states?) would include the opportunity for the children to speak independently to someone, however if this is not the case then I will definitely look into a child-inclusive mediation session before our conference.

     
  6. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with almost all of the above. I have some thoughts...

    1. Don't bother with a child inclusive conference. You know that one about kids should be seen and not heard. Look you don't wanna give the ex an opportunity to win favour with the kids to get her way - If she manages to get the courts to agree to open the case (meet the threshold of Rice and Asplund) then the kids could have a chance to have their say. Let's hope it doesn't get that far.

    2. Don't bother spending money on a solicitor for the family conference. Keep your money in case it actually goes to court.

    So I've been in a similar situation. Went to the conference, had some twit in a suit tell me that I can save my family heaps of grief just by agreeing because if it goes to court, she will win. It was all bluff all smoke and mirrors and I just held my ground. In the end, the ex left town and left the kids with me. Why? she knew she didn't have a leg to stand on in court.

    Oh, one more - I'd almost be tempted to not even attend the conference. Just refuse. Really what is the point - she wants to move, you don't want her to move - no amount of talking is gonna change that.. But what I suggest is go, maybe if you'd like more time with the kids. Why not suggest 50/50 or agree to make some modifications to the parenting orders but just refuse to talk about relocation....

    Just my 2 bob's worth.
     
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  7. goodgravy

    goodgravy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Sammy. I guess we'd like to go as a gesture of good faith. And to maybe try and resolve some issues that we have - bring some of our own requests to the table. There's a long history (as there always is) getting to this point which I dont really want to go into for identification purposes but we want to try and get some financial security in our situation. Definitely taking your experiences and points into consideration though - I've read some of your other posts and have a vague picture of your own situation.
     
  8. goodgravy

    goodgravy Well-Known Member

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    Hi again,

    This is purely a question to help me kill a bit of time while I wait to find out when our conference is.

    When I was sent a form by legal aid to fill in my details and 'side of the story' (I assume?) I noticed it was called an assessment form and that legal aid would assess whether we were actually suitable for a conference when they received my info.

    Given that we have shared care orders already in place (that, as I said, are working reasonably well for the kids) is it possible that legal aid will deem that we're not suitable for a conference? What sort of things contribute to being 'unsuitable'. This is hanging over me a bit. I just want to get on with things!
     
  9. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Yep, I reckon - so talk up how great things are and how well you (u-hum) get along with the ex. Good chance they won't agree to get involved with the conference - especially when they hear the other side of the story.
     
  10. goodgravy

    goodgravy Well-Known Member

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    Ah bugger. Makes me wish I hadn't included a long history of every time she's left the state(with and without the kids) or hospitalised for mental health issues. Should have just said 'Everything is great! We're the best of friends!'
     

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