Lawyers for parents and children

If you're applying for a Parenting Order or an Order to Settle a Dispute between Guardians, you can use a lawyer to help with the process.

On this page:

Making applications

You can get a family lawyer's advice at any time when you're working out disagreements about caring for your children. You can also have a lawyer help you apply for the Order and represent you in court.

Although you're allowed a lawyer, not everyone can afford one and some people choose to represent themselves.

Find out more about representing yourself at the Family Court.

If your application is urgent, you should apply for an urgent (without notice) application.

Find out more about urgent help

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Paying for legal help and advice

Family Legal Advice Service

If you’re on a low income, you may be able to get some legal advice and help for free through our Family Legal Advice Service. A lawyer from the Family Legal Advice Service will help you understand:

  • your rights and responsibilities with your children
  • your legal options for their care
  • what Family Justice services, including the Family Court, are available and how they can help.

You can get this help from the Family Legal Advice Service any time before going to court. The lawyer can also help you to fill out the court forms if you're applying for a Parenting Order or responding to an application for an Order. 

If you need further advice, you’ll need to pay the Family Legal Advice Service lawyer or another lawyer for that advice.

Find out if you qualify for the Family Legal Advice Service

Find an approved Family Legal Advice Service lawyer

Other legal help and advice

You may also be able to get legal aid, which is where the government pays for a lawyer for eligible people once their case is in court.

Find out more about legal aid or free community legal help.

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Lawyer for the child

The judge can appoint a lawyer for a child at any stage if they think it’s needed (for example, if they’re concerned about the child’s safety or wellbeing).

The judge can also appoint a lawyer to help the court if there are particular legal issues to be considered.

You and the other people involved in your case may have to pay some of the costs of a lawyer for a child or a lawyer to help the court. Paying for these costs is called a Cost Contribution Order.

Find out more about Cost Contribution Orders