Family Law – Overview

Family Law

Family law regulates legal obligations and responsibilities of couples who marry, live together as de facto partners or have children together. Family Law can apply at any time in the relationship – including before, during and after the relationship.

Reference Qld Law Society – Family law

Australia’s family law system helps people resolve the legal aspects of family relationship issues, including family relationship breakdown. It encourages people to agree on arrangements without going to court.

A range of information and services are available to assist people going through family relationship issues. The Family Law Services and Support Fact Sheet has information on where to access family relationship, alternative dispute resolution, legal and family violence services, as well as services that support people’s wellbeing. Some of the services are also available to family members and friends of couples experiencing relationship issues. The Family Law Fact sheet also includes web links to useful websites that have further information about family law. Reference: Family Law System

Independent Children’s Lawyer

Sometimes the court may decide to appoint a lawyer whose job is to make sure the child(ren)’s best interests are considered by the court. This lawyer is called an independent children’s lawyer (ICL).

To give the court information about the child(ren)’s wishes and views this lawyer will usually organise for someone (such as a psychologist, counsellor or social worker) to talk to the child(ren) and other people in their life like the parents or grandparents. This person will usually prepare a family report for the court to consider. They might also get information from other sources like school, doctor or counsellor.

This lawyer recommends to the court what arrangements they consider to be in the child(ren)’s best interests. They provide the court with information about the child(ren)’s views and wishes but what they recommend to the court might be different from what the child(ren) want if they think that it is in the child(ren)’s best interests after considering all the information they have gathered.

The independent children’s lawyer should explain how the system works, and choices the court might have to make about the child(ren)’s future.

More Information

Legal Aid Information

Consent Orders and Parenting Plans

Dividing your property

Children and Parenting

Child Support and Maintenance




Same Sex, De facto and Registered Relationships

Going to Family Courts

You and Family Law

Relationships and Children

What are my rights if I want to separate from my partner

Qld Law Society

Qld Law Society Website

Understanding Family Law

Find a solicitor

Family Court

Family Court Website

Going to Family Court

Indigenous Families and the Courts

Family Law Matters

Reaching an agreement without going to court

Family Law in Australia

Separation & Divorce


Missing Children

Property & Finance

Court Orders

Getting help

Family Violence

Child dispute services

About going to court and court processes

Appeals process

How Do I?

Legal Advice

You should speak to a lawyer before applying to a family court. If you can’t afford a private lawyer, you may be able to get legal advice from Legal Aid Queensland or a community legal centre.

You can choose to have a lawyer represent you in your family court case or you can represent yourself.

The law and court processes can be complex so you should get legal advice.

You may also be eligible for legal aid for representation.

Duty Lawyer

The family law duty lawyer is a free service and may be able to help on your court date for family law matters in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court.

The family law duty lawyer can give you free legal advice and can help you by:
  • giving you information and advice (on your court date)
  • helping you complete some court forms and documents
  • discussing your eligibility for legal aid.
You can only get help from the family law duty lawyer on your court date, if you are self-representing, and haven’t received any legal advice before going to court.

The family law duty lawyer may not necessarily appear with you in court (unless you have a specific need.

They can’t:
  • represent people in family law trials
  • take on casework.
Make sure you bring all your court documents with you. Without them, the family law duty lawyer can only give you limited help.

Let the family law duty lawyer know if you need extra help— for example, if you’ve experienced domestic or family violence, or you need an interpreter, have difficulty reading or writing or have a disability.

Find out when the family law duty lawyer is available.

If you need help before or after your court date, contact Legal Aid Queensland, a community legal centre or get a private lawyer.

Family Advocacy and Support Service

The service involves lawyers and social support workers helping people impacted by family violence who have a current family law issue.

If you need help on the day you are going to court, then speak to the family law duty lawyer or intake officer at the court.

If you have a very urgent family law issue, and you are not in court, then speak to an information officer at your local Legal Aid Queensland office or call 1300 65 11 88.

Get further legal advice

While 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 us 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.

Qld Law Society – Find a solicitor can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation.

Non-Legal Help

These organisations may also be able to help. They don’t give legal advice.
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