Guideline 5.7 – litigation for children in child support and child maintenance matters

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


VLA may make a grant of assistance to a child (including an adult child seeking maintenance) in proceedings relating to applications to a court under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) to apply for:


  1. it is appropriate for the child (or adult child) to participate in the proceedings
  2. the parent, or person with parental responsibility who would otherwise make the application is genuinely unwilling or unable to do so
  3. the child (or adult child) has sought and is unable to obtain assistance from our Child Support Legal Service or a community legal centre
  4. the child (or adult child) has been, or will be funded by VLA in relation to another family law matter
  5. the following threshold tests are met:

Other mandatory requirements

As well as the requirements set out in this guideline, additional criteria apply in the following circumstances:

Discharge or vary orders

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

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

Enforcement of orders

Where the person is seeking assistance for enforcement of existing orders, they must also be alleging that there has been a substantial contravention of the order.

The following applies to grants of assistance for enforcement proceedings:

  • the request for legal assistance should be made without unreasonable delay after the orders have been contravened
  • the person requesting assistance for enforcement proceedings must seek a costs order against the other party from the court. Refer to information on costs recovery for more information
  • we treat grants of assistance for enforcement proceedings as a new matter for the purposes of family law cost management. This means that we will not include the amount of the grant when calculating the cost ceiling for the substantive matter (see Family law costs management).

Documentary requirements

Applications for assistance under this guideline are not administered via the simplified grants process, but are assessed by VLA. Lawyers submitting an application in ATLAS must ensure that evidence supporting the application is uploaded to ATLAS with the application.

Ongoing assessment that client meets the guidelines

The lawyer must inform VLA if, at any point during the life of the grant, they are no longer satisfied that the client meets the guideline, including the Commonwealth merits test.

Fees available

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


VLA may provide a grant of legal assistance for an appeal relating to child support, child maintenance and adult child maintenance where Guideline 8 – Appeals is met.

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 5.7.