More user-friendly family law guidelines are live this week

More user-friendly family law guidelines are live this week

Monday, 3 July 2017

This week the Commonwealth family law and child support guidelines will look and feel different.

What to expect

The guidelines came into effect on 3 July and are set out in a new way. They are structured by client type, dispute type and by the kind of service the client is seeking (advice and negotiation, FDRS or litigation). This allows practitioners to see every applicable criterion that applies to each client who walks in the door.

Apart from the following minor substantive changes, we have not changed eligibility criteria:

  • ‘Priority FDRS client’ definition replaces ‘Priority client’ (minor expansion of eligibility)
  • ‘Priority litigation client’ definition replaces ‘Priority matter’ (minor expansion of eligibility)
  • Availability of FDRS in matters involving family violence to alleged perpetrators (expansion of eligibility)
  • removal of nullity guideline
  • inclusion of child litigant guidelines
  • new condition attaching to grants for the first day of trial in the Less Adversarial Trial stream of the Family Court.

The notes to the guidelines now provide more guidance on interpreting and applying eligibility criteria, applying for assistance and claiming fees.

Find out more about the substantive and structural changes to the guidelines using our ready reckoner.

Download the Ready reckoner – Overview of Commonwealth family law guideline changes (docx, 140.55 KB)

Training available

Don’t forget to take advantage of training to find out more about the changes. Save the date – family law guideline training.

Reminder for regional training

Short, targeted training is available to guide lawyers through the changes. Regional practitioners are reminded to register for training at the following locations:

  • Shepparton – 7 July 2017 at 10 am
  • Ballarat – 10 July 2017 at 2 pm
  • Bendigo – 12 July 2017 at 1 pm
  • Bairnsdale – 17 July 2017 at 2 pm
  • Geelong – 2 August 2017 at 11 am
  • Warrnambool – 3 August 2017 at 10 am
  • Horsham – 10 August 2017 at 2 pm
  • Mildura – 16 August 2017 at 2.30 pm.

Contact your closest VLA office in advance to arrange your training.


For training and content queries contact David Cleary, Coordinator, Assignments Family Law on (03) 9606 5251 or Tina Nikoloski, Coordinator, Assignments Family Law on (03) 9606 5252.

For general queries contact the Family Law Assignments team on (03) 9606 5355.

More information

Read the 4 – Commonwealth family law and child support guidelines on the VLA Handbook for lawyers.

Read Simpler, clearer family law guidelines commence July 2017.

Was this helpful?