Victoria Legal Aid

Grants reopen to help separating couples divide property

The Small Claims Property Pilot is now the Family Law Property Program, with funding extended for this important initiative.

Tuesday 8 August 2023 11:43pm

Grants of aid are now available for eligible parties to help divide property through legally assisted mediation and if necessary, litigation.

The Family Law Property Program is designed to provide a simpler and faster process for dividing property, including debts, between separating or separated couples with net assets of $500,000 or less (excluding superannuation).

‘We know that helping people finalise their financial situation with their ex-partner can make a huge difference to their lives, particularly for families in difficulty, including children,’ said Freia Carlton, Associate Director, Mediation.

‘An independent evaluation of the pilotExternal Link by the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that lawyer assisted mediation was an efficient way of assisting parties to resolve post separation financial matters and avoid court where possible.

'The Family Law Property Program will continue to deliver benefits to support separated families, particularly those impacted by family violence and facing economic hardship.'

This is the second time this funding has been extended, after it was initially launched as a pilot in January 2020.

This latest extension of the program is funded to 30 June 2025.

What are the eligibility criteria?

Eligibility for the Family Law Property Program remains the same as under the pilot.

Funding will be provided to clients who qualify as Family Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS) priority clientsExternal Link and who have a net asset pool of $500,000 or less, or an estimated total net claim of $250,000 or less, excluding superannuation.

What help is available under the program?

Eligible clients will receive legal assistance until their matter is resolved.

This includes lawyer-assisted mediationExternal Link through FDRS and may include a grant of legal aid to go to courtExternal Link if mediation is not able to resolve the dispute.

Litigation funding is also available for matters that are deemed urgentExternal Link or where a matter is considered unsuitable for mediation.

The eligibility guidelines created in January 2020 continue to apply, with Guideline 9External Link of the Commonwealth Family Law and Child Support guidelines reactivated.

Applications for grants of aid are to be made through ATLAS and will be assessed by VLA.

It is vital for practitioners to submit all required information and documentary proof at the time of application to avoid delays.

Monthly grant caps to continue

To manage the flow of applications, intake of new grants for eligible parties will be capped at 20 per month.

Applications received above this number will be assessed in the following month(s).

Information for clients

If you are separating, and you and your former partner have an asset pool of $500,000 or less, excluding superannuation, you may be eligible.

You must also meet the criteria of a priority client for FDRSExternal Link .

If you are not sure about how mediation may be able to help you, you can call FDRS for more information on 1800 136 832 or our Legal Help phoneline on 1300 792 387.

Download the FDRS family law property program fact sheet for clients.

Information for practitioners

Making sure you and your client are prepared for mediation will give the process the best chance of success, which is in everyone’s interests.

Download the FDRS family law property program factsheet for lawyers for information on how to prepare, including the importance of completing the financial statement with your client.

More information

If you have any questions about the Family Law Property Program, please email to get in touch with the Family Law Projects team.

For information about applying for a grant of legal aid please refer to the VLA HandbookExternal Link or contact

Reviewed 21 August 2023