Guideline 1.1 – advice and negotiation for adults in parenting disputes


Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of assistance to an adult for advice and negotiation in a parenting dispute where:

  1. the person does not have an existing grant of assistance relating to the current dispute


  1. the lawyer considers that the dispute may be resolved through advice, negotiation and exchange of letters


  1. the following threshold tests are met:

and the person is either

  1. a family law priority client
  2. is involved in a parenting dispute where:
    1. allegations have been made that indicate there is a risk to the wellbeing and/or safety of the child from being subjected or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence
    2. the child’s ability to maintain a meaningful relationship with one or both of their parents (or, where the person seeking assistance is not a parent of the child, with that person), will be substantially prejudiced by the proposals or conduct of a party to the dispute
    3. there are allegations that there is, or has been, a risk of family violence. The person alleged to be the victim, as a priority FDRS client, and the person who is alleged to be the perpetrator of the family violence are both included in this definition.

Other mandato ry requirements

As well as the requirements set out in Guideline 1.1, additional criteria apply in the following circumstances:

Where a party is not a parent of the child

Legal assistance in parenting matters is most commonly granted to one or both of the parents of the child. Where the person is not a parent of the child, VLA must also be satisfied that:

In determining the best interests of the child, where there are state child protection orders in place or child welfare proceedings on foot, we may grant assistance to a person who is not a parent of the child where the orders or proposed orders are in favour of that person.

Discharge or vary orders

Where the person is applying for assistance to discharge or vary existing parenting orders, there must also have been a significant change in circumstances since the parenting order was made.

If the significant change in circumstances has been caused by the applicant, VLA will consider the circumstances surrounding that change in deciding whether it is appropriate to make a grant of legal assistance to the applicant.

Documentary requirements

Applications for assistance under this guideline are within the simplified grants process and are submitted through ATLAS. Lawyers submitting an application must ensure that evidence supporting the application is kept on the file.

Lawyers are also encouraged to complete a Family law worksheet and a Proof of means worksheet for their file, available on the Invoice, forms and worksheets page.

Fees available

For more information about fees available for a grant under this guideline, see Fee table 4.1.

Notes on this guideline

For commentary and examples on the eligibility criteria, grants assessment process, documentary requirements and fees and billing relevant to this guideline see the Notes on guideline 1.1.