Victoria Legal Aid

Other support for relationships

Learn where to get legal help and other support for relationships.

Divorce, separation and marriage annulment

Family dispute resolution can help couples who have separated to sort out disputes more quickly and easily than by going to court. Our Family Dispute Resolution Service may be able to help you.

In some regional areas we also run free divorce workshops to explain the divorce process and help participants to complete their divorce applications. These are currently running at our Bendigo office. Contact the offices directly to book your place. For contact details, see Our offices.

Other organisations that can help

amica

amicaExternal Link is a secure online platform that helps separating couples to:

  • make parenting arrangements if you have children
  • divide your money and property fairly
  • create clear, simple written agreements about your arrangements, and
  • create the documents you need if you want to turn your agreements into consent orders.

amica guides you through a user-friendly, step-by-step process, giving you information and support along the way. It is a very low-cost option and is free if either of you is on an Income Support Benefit.

Legal services

Some community legal centres have specialist family law and child support services. Most services are free. See the Community Law websiteExternal Link to find a centre near you.

The Women's Legal ServiceExternal Link Victoria provides free confidential legal information, advice, representation and referral to women.

You can also find a private lawyer near you through the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral ServiceExternal Link . All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a free 30-minute interview. You can use this interview to understand more about the legal issue and discuss the available options and how much they will cost. Note that the free interview is not 30 minutes of free legal advice.

Family Relationships Online

Visit Family Relationships OnlineExternal Link or contact their advice line on 1800 050 321 to find:

  • a family dispute resolution centre
  • a child contact centre – where children can see their parents or where changeover from one parent to another can occur. Many contact centres also provide support programs for children and parents experiencing family breakdown
  • other services that can help you reach agreement about the children.

Services Australia

Services Australia has information for familiesExternal Link , separated parentsExternal Link and carersExternal Link about their payments and services.

Courts

If you cannot agree with your ex-partner or if your case is not suitable for family dispute resolution, you may need to go to court. The court can make decisions about parenting orders and division of property. They can offer help, information and referral services. Go to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia websiteExternal Link for more information.

Court Network volunteersExternal Link support people at court. They are not lawyers and cannot give legal advice, but they can tell you about how court works. They can also make referrals to other community agencies for support after the hearing.

If you want to see a Court Network volunteer, tell the court staff. You can also ring them before you go to court.

Family violence and support services

Family violence services are available for people who wish to leave, or have left, a violent relationship.

If you are experiencing family violence and the situation is urgent do not wait, contact the police on ‘000’.

For more family violence and support services, see Violence, abuse and personal safety.

Our resources about divorce, separation and marriage annulment

These resources will help you understand more about:

  • separation and divorce
  • property issues
  • keeping safe from family violence.

You can download or order these publications:

See a list of all our free publications and resourcesExternal Link .

Resources from other organisations

WIRE

WIRE's information booklet, Leaving a relationshipExternal Link has information on your legal rights and options if are leaving a relationship. Includes parenting arrangements, finances, housing, court orders and getting help.

WIRE's information booklet, Separation and propertyExternal Link has information for couples considering separation. It covers property division and settlement, financial abuse, family dispute resolution and going to court.

Sex and the law

Other organisations that can help

Victoria Police

If you have been sexually assaulted or fear for your safety and the situation is urgent, do not wait to report it. You can contact the police on ‘000’.

If your situation is not urgent, you can contact your local police station and ask to speak to someone from the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigations TeamExternal Link in your area.

24-hour crisis care

If you have been sexually assaulted in the last two weeks most Centres Against Sexual Assault can help you to see a counsellor/advocate immediately. This will usually happen at a public hospital. The counsellor/advocate can give you support, including:

  • helping you decide if you want to make a report to police
  • giving you information about your legal and medical options
  • arranging medical care, including a forensic medical examination if you decide to report your situation to the police. A forensic medical examination is a medical examination to find evidence and assess if you need treatment
  • helping you to get emergency housing or other crisis care if you need it.

You can contact a Centre Against Sexual AssaultExternal Link via the Sexual Assault Services Victoria website.

They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for crisis counselling, support, information and advocacy. They can also help if you are dealing with the effect of a past sexual assault.

Legal services

Your local community legal centreExternal Link can give you legal information and advice. Most services are free.

You can also find a private lawyer near you through the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral ServiceExternal Link . All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a free 30-minute interview. Note that the free interview is not 30 minutes of free legal advice. You can use this interview to understand more about your legal issue and discuss available options and how much they will cost.

Sexual assault and family violence

Sexual Assault Crisis LineExternal Link is a confidential telephone counselling, information and referral phoneline. It is available 5.30 pm–9 am weeknights, and 24 hours on weekends and public holidays.

Family violence support services are available from:

Sexual health services

Contact Sexual Health VictoriaExternal Link for information about sex, sexual health, contraception and pregnancy.

Other support and referral services

The Kids Help LineExternal Link offers free, confidential, 24-hour telephone counselling for young people. Email and web counselling is also available.

More services include:

Compensation and financial help

If you have been sexually assaulted, you may be able to get compensation and financial help. There are three main ways of doing this. You can:

  • apply for financial help from the government through the Victims of Crime Assistance TribunalExternal Link
  • seek compensation from the perpetrator (the person who sexually assaulted you) and possibly others by taking civil action
  • apply to the criminal court for an order that the perpetrator pay you compensation. You can only do this if the perpetrator has been convicted of a criminal offence.

See Victims of crime.

Our resources about sex and the law

These resources will help you understand:

  • what is sexual assault
  • what to do to prevent it
  • how to get a family violence intervention order.

Our publications:

See a list of all our free publications and resourcesExternal Link .

We also have these videos:

Resources from other organisations

Victims of Crime

The Victims Support Agency gives practical assistance to help victims recover from the effects of crime through the Victims of Crime websiteExternal Link and helpline. This includes people who have experienced sexual assault.

They also have information about other services that can helpExternal Link and a list of publications and fact sheetsExternal Link to support victims of crime.

Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA)

Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA) Forum’s fact sheetsExternal Link help people who have been sexual assaulted and abused as children.

Magistrates' Court

The Magistrates' Court has a virtual tour of the courtroomExternal Link and a video of what happens when you go to court for an intervention order hearing.

Sexual Health Victoria

Sexual Health Victoria has fact sheets on contraceptionExternal Link and how to look after your sexual health.

Youthlaw

The Youthlaw websiteExternal Link provides information about sexting, such as when sending or posting an image becomes illegal.

WIRE

WIRE's Sexual Assault information sheetExternal Link explains what sexual assault is, what its impacts are, what the police can do, and where to get help.

How we can help

Contact us for free information about relationships, sex and the law.

If we can’t help, we can refer you to other organisations that can.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 04 June 2024

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