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  1. #1
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    Default legal aid question

    hey everyone,

    just a couple of questions, has anyone used legal aid before? what are they like?
    im going to try and get legal aid for custody, just to put in writing what myself and ex have been doing for 2yrs now.

    do i have to make an appointment at my closest office? of can i just walk in?

    thanks for the help

  2. #2
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    Legal Aid is just like using any solicitor, some are good, some are great and some are awful.

    You have to fill out an application form for representation, you can obtain these forms from your local office (who may give you a one off appointment without the application) or you can download one from the website for the Legal Aid in your state.

    I know that in WA legal aid is rarely granted for straight forward family law matters (reason being it that its priority is criminal law). If you want to negotiate a property settlement they will often grant you assistance to try Alternative Dispute Resolution (mediation) but only in extreme, and I mean extreme, cases will it fund a solicitor for financial matters.

    I am in WA and each state agency may have slightly different policies re eligibility.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nedz View Post
    hey everyone,

    just a couple of questions, has anyone used legal aid before? what are they like?
    im going to try and get legal aid for custody, just to put in writing what myself and ex have been doing for 2yrs now.

    do i have to make an appointment at my closest office? of can i just walk in?

    thanks for the help
    I used legal aid (I'm in Qld).. I was under the impression it was free (some conversation with the woman on the phone) but it cost me $550 to get the consent orders done, which nobody mentioned till I got the bill!

    on the upside they took care of everything. they organised mediation (which ex didn't turn up to), they organised the certificate to say he didn't turn up, they just took care of everything. even gave me a solicitor near by.

    only one thing though.. legal aid can only be used once for a case.. so if you want to change consent orders after they are stamped etc etc.. you can't (nor can your ex I believe) use legal aid again for the same case.

  4. #4
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    I had a legal aid solicitor- wasn't totally free. It is means tested so while you might qualify there could potentially be a contribution- I think I paid about $1200- $600 for the mediation conference and $600 again for the court orders.

    Like previous posters said- its pot luck whether you get a good bad or inbetween solicitor. You can however ring around and find a solicitor you like who does legal aid work and get them to lodge the legal aid application for you. One thing to keep in mind is if a solicitor takes you on as a legal aid client they are getting paid a lot less than if you were paying them privately- for instance on the day you go to court they get paid for 3 hours work regardless of thether they are there for 3 hours or the whole day.

  5. #5
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    Why did you have to pay so much for consent orders? Do you mean for them to write it up? Did they base it on a parenting plan?? Sorry im clueless here too!

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    Your representation is provided by legal aid but you still have to pay the fees to the court for the consents orders.
    I had an absolutely awful experience with a legal aid lawyer and ended up having to go private costing me $12k to get a consent order in place
    My advice would be to make sure you research and select a decent firm!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by F I G J A M View Post
    Why did you have to pay so much for consent orders? Do you mean for them to write it up? Did they base it on a parenting plan?? Sorry im clueless here too!
    I'm not sure. It's supposed to be based on your income but I don't work so I guess $550 is the minimum you have to pay.

    No I didn't write them up my solicitor did everything. I think, . from memory, the consent orders were part of the parenting plan?? can't remember.. but my ex refused to talk and refused to participate so my solicitor just had to write it up with me... we also had to put in the financial side of things as well which meant he owed me $5000 (in the end he agreed to that) but after the consent orders were stamped they were legally binding (i.e. I have 100% custody which if he wanted to change he now has to go to court and he as to pay to organise). He actually ended up refusing to pay me the $5000 and I found out I couldn't take it to court as legal aid were done with the case so I would have had to pay privately for it which I couldn't afford... in the end he had a cheque for $4400 or something which he waved in front of my face and then put back in his pocket (charming eh?) but I got it in the end during one of his 'nice' days. So be careful about what you want your ex to pay/do because unless you can afford to take it back to court there is nothing he has to do at all.

    I was told though, that if my ex wanted to run off with the kids where was nothing I could do but once I had the consent orders stamped with 100% custody I could calll the police and they could do something about it.

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    When I went through legal aid if your income was below a certain $ figure it was totally free; above this amount but below their said maximum for legal aid assistance you had to pay a contribution.

    We ended up spending 18 months in the court system before consent orders were agreed on; then it was a matter of presenting it to the judge and he agreed on it so they were stamped and became final.

  9. #9
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    thanks everyone, im going to give them a call and see what they say.
    we
    've already been though solicitors for the house and that took over 12 mths, now that im renting and only on the spp, i cant afford another solicitor, i just hope he will agree to what we have been doing for the last 2 and half years with Master L, never know though, he's prob pi$#&d that i dobbed him into cs as well because he's been working and told them he hasnt been

    ahhh ** thinink to myself, it will be over one day**


 

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