Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

Guideline 1.7 – FDRS for child litigants in parenting disputes

Note: The lawyer is not required to assess eligibility under this guideline. Applications are submitted to ATLAS for assessment by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA).

Before applying for a grant of assistance for a person to attend VLA’s Family Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS), lawyers should read important information about FDRS.


VLA may make a grant of assistance for a child litigant in a parenting dispute to be represented in family dispute resolution at FDRS where:

  1. it is appropriate for the child litigant to participate in family dispute resolution at FDRS
  2. the parent, or person with parental responsibility, who would otherwise make the application is genuinely unwilling or unable to do so
  3. the following threshold tests are met:

Other mandatory requirements

As well as the requirements set out in Guideline 1.7, an additional criterion applies in the following circumstances:

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

Lawyers submitting an application must ensure that evidence supporting the application is uploaded to ATLAS with the application.

Fees available

For 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 1.7.

Reviewed 19 April 2023

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