Guideline 5.6 – advice and negotiation 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.


VLA may make a grant of assistance to a child (including an adult child seeking maintenance) for advice and negotiation in a disputes relating to child support and child maintenance, where:

  1. it is appropriate for the child (or adult child) to participate in the negotiation
  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) does not have an existing grant of assistance relating to the current dispute
  5. the lawyer considers that the dispute may be resolved through advice, negotiation and exchange of letters
  6. the following threshold tests are met:

Other mandatory requirements

As well as the requirements set out in this guideline, an additional criterion applies 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 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 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 stage 1A – advice and negotiation in Fee table 4.1. Where a matter is resolved through an advice and negotiation grant and consent orders are filed with the court, the stage 1D – consent orders fee is also available.


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 5.6.