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Legal Aid for Divorce

Legal aid for divorce on the Sunshine Coast – Maroochydore

Legal Aid For Divorce on the Sunshine Coast

Legal aid is there to support people who can't afford family lawyers

A divorce is an emotionally challenging time in anyone’s life and can be expensive, specifically if you don’t understand the process. The information on this page intends to help you better understand the legal process of getting divorced and the legal aid available.

If you require a legal aid lawyer visit legal aid Queensland to learn more.

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Upset depressed guy sitting on couch deep in thoughts, frustrated couple after quarrelling, guilty man regretting about mistake thinking of resolving conflict, offended woman not going to forgive

Divorce Basics

The only legal requirement for a divorce is the irreversible breakdown of a marriage, which is proven by both parties being separated for 12 months with no chance of reconciliation.

After you have separated, you can either:

Centrelink Requirements when Divorcing

Divorce and Centrelink

You may need to provide proof of your living arrangements to an agency like Centrelink on the Sunshine Coast. The following criteria will be considered when your living arrangements are reviewed to decide if you’re ‘separated under the one roof’:

Are you sharing one bedroom?

Is there any sexual intimacy?

Are meals and domestic duties shared (in a different way to when you were married)

Are you still sharing money and bank accounts?

Do your family and friends think of you as separated?

Legal aid eligibility options available in QLD

Know when to consult a lawyer

If you want a divorce but are unsure if you meet the criteria to be considered for legal aid, you should consult a lawyer. Additionally, we suggest you read this article: 11 steps to a pain free divorce.

Understand why divorce can be a better option

You may be thinking it is just too hard to get divorced, and as long as you are living separate lives it doesn’t matter. You need to remember you can’t get married again without first finalising a divorce, and staying married may impact your rights and responsibilities when dealing with financial matters, wills and property.

Applying for a divorce can be completed online

The Federal Circuit Court located on the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Brisbane allows an online application that can be completed by either you or your ex-partner. You can still apply for a divorce if you are married overseas. You can read more about international divorce here. Get legal advice from an experienced divorce lawyer if you’re unsure whether your marriage is legal. Our office can provide you with recommendations.

Getting back together for a short time

You can get back together for up to 3 months without having to restart the 12-month separation period. For example, if you’re separated for four months, get back together for almost three months and then separate again for eight months, you’ll be separated for 12 months. However, if you were back together for four months, only the most recent eight months would count as the separation period.

Getting back together for a short time
Divorce from a short marriage

Divorce from a short marriage

Parties married for less than two years can get a divorce. However, it is conditional that both parties agree to counselling. If your partner refuses to get counselling, you can still proceed with the divorce. As a consequence, you may require legal counsel.

Arrangements involving children

The family court in Maroochydore, Gold Coast and Brisbane will need to make proper arrangements involving children before allowing a divorce. The family court will want to know the following:

You can read more about the legalities of children involved in a separation here.

applying for divorce

Applying for a divorce

You can apply for a divorce online through the Federal Circuit Court. The application fee is $930; in some situations, a reduced fee of $310 may apply. If you, for any reason, can’t apply online, you can get advice from Family Lawyers, a Queensland Legal Aid Partner, who can assist you with your family matter.
To apply for a divorce application at the Federal Circuit Court located in Maroochydore, Gold Coast or Brisbane, you or your ex-partner need to:
Now that we have covered some of the divorce basics, let’s explore Queensland’s Legal Aid, specifically looking at divorce on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

How does Queensland Legal Aid decide who gets legal aid?

On the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast areas, there is a high demand for legal aid, and as a result, there are strict requirements when granting aid for legal representation. Legal aid eligibility is determined by one of three sets of standards:
Legal aid Maroochydore street access view

How does the means test work?

Queensland Legal Aid uses the means test to look at your income and assets to see if you are financially eligible for legal aid.

The means test considers this if you support or provide financial help to other people like a partner, children or other dependents. Similarly, if someone supports you financially or provides finance, then the means test will consider this person’s income and assets. You will need to provide their income and assets details in your legal aid application.

What income should be included in your legal aid application?

You will need to inform Queensland Legal Aid about any money you regularly receive like:

You will usually be eligible for legal aid if you rely on Centrelink payments for your income. You will also need to include child maintenance and child support payments as income and any tax benefits.

Legal Aid considers the follow assets in the means test

Legal Aid considers the follow assets in the means test

Legal Aid Queensland takes the following assets into account: property (houses, land), cash, shares, debentures or other investments, and the assets of any person who helps you financially unless you are applying for legal aid because you are in dispute with the person providing the financial support. Legal aid doesn’t include the following assets:

The house you live in (if the equity is $146,000 or less)

Cash you have saved to buy a home or land you own (if the equity is $146,000 or less); you must have signed a contract to buy or build a home before you knew about your legal problem for this cash or land to be exempt under the means test

Household furniture (unless it is exceptionally valuable)

Tools you need for your job (unless they are exceptionally valuable)

Your car or cars (unless you have over $16,000 in equity)

The first $2000 of an applicant’s savings.

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How much can I earn and still get legal aid?

Queensland Legal Aid has set up a Table 1 that shows how much gross weekly income you can earn and still be eligible for legal aid living on the Sunshine Coast. You will also be able to use the table to check if you might have to contribute towards your legal costs. Table 2 on the Queensland Legal Aid website shows how much you may have to pay towards your legal fees based on the value of your assets. Queensland Legal Aid will not approve your application if the amount you would have to pay towards your legal costs would be more than the grant of aid value.

Circumstances beyond your control: What to do when you feel you have them

Suppose you are experiencing domestic violence, live in a remote area, and have an intellectual, psychiatric, or physical disability or another disadvantage. In that case, you may be eligible for a grant of legal aid. Queensland Legal Aid has developed guidelines to help identify applicants who would not usually meet the means test but deserve special consideration because they experience multiple disadvantages. Queensland Legal Aid considers the following as special circumstances.

Special circumstances guidelines relating to assets will have to be met for you to qualify. Queensland Legal Aid allows for a condition to be attached to any grant of legal aid. For instance, you may be required to contribute to your legal costs, and you may be required to provide your property as security for payment of these legal costs to Legal Aid Queensland.

The information provided on this website is not legal advice. All data, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.

Joint applications for divorce

Let's work together

Even a joint divorce application can be daunting, let alone when you’re considering filing for a divorce online. Perhaps you have questions about submitting your application to the courts, or you aren’t sure where to start. We’re here to help guide you through the process.

Interested in chatting more about a joint divorce application?

Download Our Free Divorce Guide

Get expert advice on navigating your divorce with ease and confidence.
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