Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a list of questions that we are asked at Family Law Specialists.
Can I get free legal advice?
If you have a dispute about care or guardianship matters affecting a child you may be eligible for a session of free advice under the ‘Family Legal Advice Service’. Eligibility for this free service depends on your income. If you want advice under the Family Legal Advice Service please let us know when you ring for an appointment. We can check and tell you whether you are likely to be eligible. If you are eligible for the Family Legal Advice Service we can also help you apply to the Family Court if you can’t resolve the situation at mediation.
What will it cost me to see a lawyer?
We strive to offer value for money legal services. Seeing a lawyer can become expensive and it is important that you are aware how costs are incurred.
For some services (like buying or selling a house, refinancing, wills) we are able to offer to work for you for a fixed fee, which will not be exceeded unless unforeseen matters arise which we will discuss with you if applicable.
Where you need to see a lawyer about other matters (for example separation) the lawyer working to assist you will record the time spent doing work for you. This includes meetings and follow up work, such as writing letters or drafting documents. Each lawyer has an hourly rate which is used for the purpose of calculating fees. These hourly rates are set out in our terms of engagement.
When the fee is set, other factors may be taken into account as required by the Rules of Client Care and Conduct, including urgency, importance of the matter to the client, and the result achieved.
Will you work for me on Legal Aid?
All of the lawyers at Family Law Specialists are approved Legal Aid providers for family law. We offer Legal Aid services to eligible clients in the following areas:
- Domestic violence;
- Care and protection of children;
- Day-to-day care and contact (parenting orders);
- Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act (welfare guardian, property manager, personal orders).
We do not offer Legal Aid services for relationship property, child support, spousal maintenance or disputing wills.
Do I qualify for Legal Aid?
The Ministry of Justice makes a decision about each application for Legal Aid. The decision takes into account your income, your assets and the nature of the dispute.
If you think you may be eligible for Legal Aid you need to tell us and bring with you to your first appointment:
- Confirmation of your income;
- A recent bank account statement;
- A $50.00 contribution if you want legal aid for day-to-day care, contact or guardianship matters; or if you are a respondent in a Domestic Violence Act matters
Do I have to go to Court?
Most issues which arise after a family separation can be dealt with through discussion and negotiation, including disputes about property or about children. Court applications are usually only necessary for very urgent situations (for example protection orders in the case of family violence) or where it has not been possible to sort a dispute out through negotiation or mediation.