Seeing a lawyerIt’s a good idea to speak to an experienced family lawyer before making any important decisions. A lawyer can:
- explain what you may be entitled to when dividing your property and your responsibilities and obligations when resolving your parenting arrangements
- discuss your situation, which may involve complicated legal issues
- tell you about issues you may not have thought about
- help you to negotiate in a dispute.
Search for a lawyer in your area.
Representing yourselfYou don’t have to use a lawyer for your court case — you can choose to represent yourself in court. If you can’t afford a lawyer and are not eligible for legal aid you may not have a choice. People representing themselves in court are called self-represented litigants.
If you represent yourself, you will need to know about the law and the court process.
It’s not easy representing yourself. You’ll need to do your research and preparation well before filing court documents and presenting a case in court. The Family Court of Australia website and Federal Circuit Court of Australia website has information for people representing themselves in court.
Legal Aid Queensland or a community legal centre can also give you information and advice.
Who pays the costs?
Legal costsIn family law cases, you usually pay your own legal costs and court fees. In some situations the court may order one side to pay the other side’s costs. For example, see Federal Circuit Court Practice Direction No. 2 of 2017. You are usually only awarded costs if you’ve had to pay for a lawyer. You won’t be awarded costs for your own time and effort.
Filing fee costsYou can apply to the family law courts for an exemption from paying court filing fees. Contact the court for more information.
The following lawyers do legal aid cases — search for a lawyer in your area .
If you’re not eligible for legal aid and you still need legal representation (not just legal advice), contact the Qld Law Society for a list of private family lawyers in your area.
Get legal adviceWhile the family law duty lawyer may be able to help you specifically on your court date, Legal Aid Queensland may be able to give you further advice about family law matters. Contact Legal Aid for help.
The following organisations may be able to give you legal advice.
Community Legal Centres give legal advice on a range of topics. Contact them to find out if they can help.
Caxton Legal Service
Qld Law Society – Find a solicitor can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation.
Helpful videosLegal Aid – Life After Separation Video
Legal Aid – When Separating Video
Other Legal HelpQld Law Handbook – online information
Has topics covering:
- Marriage and Divorce
- Post-Separation Parenting
- Spousal & Child Maintenance and Child Support
- Property Division when Couples Separate
- Domestic Violence
- Same-Sex Relationships
- Surrogacy and In Vitro Fertilisation
- Parents, Children and the Law
- Child Protection
- Children and Education
- Family Law – Contact Points
- Domestic Violence
- Violence and Criminal Charges
- Digital safety
- Child support
- Practical tips for progressing your property matter
- Reaching an agreement
- Divorce and Separation
- Where to begin: separation and divorce
- Leaving home: Separation and divorce