Getting help: Legal advice from the best Sunshine Coast legal aid family lawyer.

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Finding a Legal Aid Family Lawyer on the Sunshine Coast can be overwhelming. For those that are already feeling the financial pressures of an unplanned baby, recent separation or divorce legal aid is a lifeline that can help. Sunshine Coast Family Law legal aid is there to help people with their family law matters in tough times. Legal Aid Queensland provides access to justice for disadvantaged Queenslanders in the areas of family, civil and criminal law – subject to means, merits, and guidelines tests.

The legal system can be complicated, and difficult to navigate. Especially when you’re dealing with the court system, lawyers and new family law matters.

What is Legal Aid?

Legal Aid is free legal assistance provided by the government. It provides access to legal services for low to middle-income people who are unable to afford or access it otherwise. There is a legal aid commission in every state and territory in Australia.

In Queensland, these services are provided by Legal Aid Queensland

Legal Aid Family Lawyer Maroochydore supporting you in tough times

Legal Aid Queensland in Maroochydore Sunshine Coast is an independent legal service provider of specialist family law advice and representation. On their website, their Purpose says ‘We give legal help to financially disadvantaged people about criminal, family and civil law matters. We are committed to providing a quality service to all our customers, as outlined in our service charter.’

Principal Luke Shanahan believes in giving back and does this through supporting Legal Aid Maroochydore as a registered partner. As a registered partner of Legal Aid Queensland Shanahan Family Law can:

  • advise on your eligibility for legal aid.
  • apply for legal aid on your behalf.
  • help you with your legal problem and represent you in court.

We want you to know that we are available to help. If you cannot afford a lawyer and require a committed Legal Aid Family Lawyer that provides quality legal representation then we can help. We understand the legal system can be complex and overwhelming, so don’t hesitate to contact us for advice or representation concerning your family law matter. Read on or book here.

Legal Aid Factsheets

Legal Aid Queensland provides a number of resources and factsheets.

The 30 minutes Legal Aid Factsheets are a series of concise, easy-to-read fact sheets that provide information on topics such as legal aid eligibility, rights, and how to get help.

They are available in both hard copy and online. The Legal Aid Queensland website contains a range of information on legal aid, including the Legal Aid Factsheets and other information about the legal aid system. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and Family Support since 1993.

Below is a current version of the Legal Aid Queensland factsheet:


7 Legal Aid Questions for Family Law

1. Can I qualify for legal aid? 

To gain access to Legal Aid you need to apply for a grant if you want a Legal Aid Family Lawyer to represent you in court. Qualifying for legal aid is not easy. Some of the requirements can be complex, such as being of low income or having limited assets. Shanahan Family Law’s Legal Aid partnership allows us to assist with advising your eligibility for legal aid, submit an application for legal aid on your behalf, help you with your legal problem and represent you in court.

2. How do I qualify for Legal Aid Family Lawyer? 

Legal Aid Queensland use a strict criteria when granting aid for legal representation to ensure they are using their funding to help those who are least able to afford a lawyer.

These are:

  • a means test
  • funding guidelines based on the priorities set by the QLD Government
  • in most cases, a merits test

The means test is the easiest of these three. It only applies to individuals who lack assets or are unable to pay for legal assistance. Before considering legal represnetaiuton your eligibility of receiving government support should be considered first. The next step is to consider the funding guidelines and if required a merits test.

Before applying for a Legal Aid Family Lawyer grant they recommend receiving legal advice first.

3. How does the Means Test work?

Most Legal Aid grants require the applicant to qualify first which meets a means test. The means test evaluates your income and assets, whether you provide financial help to a partner or children, or if another person supports you to see if you are eligible to receive Legal Aid. To apply for Legal Aid you must have an urgent reason to have legal help. You are not eligible if you are just curious about your legal rights or if your problem is not legal.

4. What are the 19 Commonwealth funding Guidelines for Family Law?

The Commonwealth funding Guidelines for Family cover 19 types of cases Legal Aid Queensland can fund, based on the priorities set by the State and Federal governments. Some of the priorities are:

  • Family law such as urgent matters where a child’s safety or welfare is at risk. The child’s safety is at risk, where they maybe removed from Australia or to a remote location in Australia. Separate representation of children, Parenting plans and orders, Location and recovery orders, Injunctions relating to family violence.
  • Civil law includes Child protection proceedings, Domestic and family violence matters, and Discrimination matters.
  • Criminal law includes District and Supreme Court criminal proceedings, Indictable offences in the Children’s Court (these are serious offences), appeals to the Court of Appeal or High Court, Magistrates Court committal hearings where the maximum penalty is more than 14 years in jail and Bail applications.
  • Assisting with Parenting Orders.

These are just a few of the 19 types of cases Legal Aid can fund. If in doubt call our office for more information.

5. What if I have special circumstances?

Applicants who usually would not meet the means test, but deserve special consideration because they might experience multiple disadvantages can observe the guidelines. If you are experiencing domestic violence, live in a remote area, have an intellectual, psychiatric or physical disability or other disadvantages, you may be eligible for a grant of aid via the special circumstances’ guidelines. The special circumstances guidelines relate to assets only and a condition may be attached to any grant of aid approved under the special circumstances guidelines. For example, you may be required to pay a contribution towards your legal costs, or to provide your property as security for payment of these legal costs to Legal Aid Queensland.

6. How does the Merits Test work?

The Merits Test is assessed by looking at the legal and factual merits of the case. If it is more likely to succeed or fail if it goes to Court if a sensible person would risk their money to take the case to Court if the benefit the applicant will receive from having a lawyer justifies spending limited public funds on their particular case.

As of 14th December 2015 to qualify for the Merits Test you must pass these 5 points:

  1. Must meet each of the following steps to qualify

a. the Reasonable Prospects of Success test

b. the Prudent Self-Funding Litigant test, and

c. the Appropriateness of Spending Limited Public Legal Grants of Legal Assistance Funds test.

2. The Reasonable Prospects of Success test.

3. The Prudent Self-Funding Litigant test.

4. The Appropriateness of Spending Limited Public Legal Grants of Legal Assistance Funds test.

5.  It is applied to applications for a grant of legal assistance unless otherwise specified in this Policy Manual.

When a person applies for a grant, the merits test is applied to all the cases they apply for, not just to one case. If it is satisfied in respect of a case, then that case will proceed to court. If a person applies for more than one grant, the Merits Test is only applied to one case, unless they have two or more cases that are similar enough to each other.

7. How can I apply for Legal Aid?

The easiest way would be to contact our office and set up a 15-minute free consultation. Call (07) 5408 4470 or book a time here or email our office at


Legal Aid Sunshine Coast family law services can help people resolve their disputes by making them affordable and efficient. Legal Aid helps you to navigate the Family Law system and the emotional roller coaster of separation and divorce. Shanahan Family Law will help you to stay in control and protect your rights as a spouse or ex-spouse. We also provide guidance, legal representation and information to assist you in making informed decisions when it comes to financial matters.

Shanahan Family offer a full range of legal services in family law matters, including divorce and separation, paternity and child support, and property settlement. We have been providing quality, affordable, and accessible legal advice to Australians since 2009.

Thank you for making a great choice to read this far. We hope we have made it easier for you to understand and now search for an Expert Sunshine Coast Legal Aid Family Lawyer.

Book in for a FREE consultation.

The information provided in this article is not legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.

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If your matter is urgent, please call us on (07) 5408 4470