Springvale Monash Legal Service and Women’s Legal Service Victoria to provide advice and representation for clients at Family Dispute Resolution Service

Springvale Monash Legal Service and Women’s Legal Service Victoria to provide advice and representation for clients at Family Dispute Resolution Service

Monday, 21 June 2021

We are pleased to announce that Springvale Monash Legal Service and Women’s Legal Service Victoria will provide advice and representation to clients at our Family Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS) from 1 July 2021. This follows a recent expressions of interest process directed to all community legal centres (CLCs).

FDRS helps people resolve family law disputes through a lawyer-assisted model of family dispute resolution. We help with a range of matters, including parenting issues, division of property (for pilot cases), spousal maintenance, adult child maintenance and international child abduction cases.

Whilst an initiating party at FDRS will be represented by a lawyer under a grant of aid, there are cases where the invited party is ineligible for aid or unable to access legal assistance.  

Since 2009 we have been referring many of these otherwise unrepresented clients to the Family Law Legal Service (FLLS) for the delivery of excellent conference advice and representation. 

In the last 12 years over 1200 clients have accessed a mediation conference with the assistance of FLLS, delivering greater access to mediation for separated families. 

In more than 80 per cent of conferences, families have resolved some or all issues. With FLLS closing on 30 June 2021, we are delighted that our new partners will be ready to deliver services at FDRS over a two-year period from 1 July 2021.

CLCs partnering to provide state-wide legal-representation at FDRS

FDRS delivers family dispute resolution to people across Victoria. Women’s Legal Service Victoria and Springvale Monash Legal Service are partnering in a way that means people of all cultural backgrounds, family formations and genders, who are eligible to receive the service, will do so.

We are particularly pleased that this partnership and collaboration will offer skill-sharing opportunities and wide reach (with service delivery online and, outside of covid restrictions, in person), for the benefit of families.

Springvale Monash Legal Service (SMLS) and Women’s Legal Service Victoria are enthusiastic about collaborating for the benefit of clients seeking to resolve family law disputes through mediation.

'Women’s Legal Service Victoria is excited to partner with Springvale Monash Legal Service to provide legal advice and representation for clients in family dispute resolution,' said Women’s Legal CEO Serina McDuff.

'Since 2009 our lawyers have been representing clients at VLA FDRS through FLLS. Our lawyers are experienced working in a non-adversarial setting, assisting clients to problem solve and make decisions in the best interests of their children.'

'With FLLS closing, this new partnership with Springvale Monash will provide continuity of service at VLA FDRS and will allow Women’s Legal to bring a wealth of experience to the table,' said Serina.

'SMLS has long been a proponent of collaboration and partnership to better support our clients, ensure excellence in service delivery and share knowledge and skills across organisations,' said Ashleigh Newnham, SMLS Manager of Strategic and Community Development.

'We are thrilled to be working with Women’s Legal Service to provide legal advice and representation at VLA FDRS. We are looking forward to increasing the scope of our non-adversarial family law practice. This program provides our growing team of experienced family lawyers with increased opportunities to work for clients within a trauma-informed process.'

The Manager of FDRS, Freia Carlton said the joint expression of interest from Springvale Monash Legal Service and Women’s Legal Service Victoria was compelling. 

'The services drew on their combined strengths – including their experience working in family law for clients impacted by family violence and clients otherwise at risk of disadvantage, a willingness to problem solve in a team environment, and an appreciation for child-focused, safe and creative outcomes.'

Freia said she was looking forward to working with both CLCs as the continuation of this initiative enabled ‘more families to access our service and achieve good outcomes for their children, with support from lawyers and our FDRS case managers and panels of experienced chairpersons and child consultants.’

More information

Read more about our Family Dispute Resolution Service

 

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