CAN I GET LEGAL AID FOR MY CHILD CUSTODY MATTER?
Most people are surprised to learn that grants of Legal Aid are not just reserved for the unemployed. In fact, households deriving a gross income of up to $111,000 per year can get Legal Aid. Some basic Legal Aid eligibility requirements for child custody matters are:
- you must not earn over the ‘income threshold’ (see the chart included in this post);
- the value of your ‘assessable assets’ must not exceed $930 (or $1,880 if you receive financial help from someone else, or have dependent children) – bearing in mind that the following is excluded from ‘assessable assets’:
- up to $146,000 of equity in a home you own;
- up to $146,000 of cash you’ve saved to buy a home or land;
- household furniture;
- tools you need for your job;
- cars with up to $16,000 of equity in them;
- a sensible person would risk their own money to take the matter to Court;
- the matter must be more likely to succeed than fail if it goes to Court;
- the spending of public money on the matter would be justified by the benefit the person would receive from having a lawyer.
It’s also not uncommon for people to think that “Legal Aid Lawyers” aren’t up to scratch. In our experience, that’s simply not the case, and in fact you’ll find that many lawyers in private firms like ours handle both Legal Aid matters and privately funded matters.
And don’t think that because a lawyer charges a high hourly rate they must provide a superior service. Sometimes the premium you pay really just funds high overheads resulting from things like overstaffed offices, or high rents, rather than superior service.
This article was published by Kyle Barram on 23 September 2016. Kyle is a family lawyer practising in Townsville.