These guides do not in any way represent legal advice.
All guides are produced as a 'layperson' and 'informed friend'.
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Having a lawyer is of course personal choice, if you can afford one, and in some cases people can get funding through legal aid. However, we argue that there are a number of key reasons why, in the vast majority of cases, there is absolutely no advantage or need to pay for a lawyer:

1) The issues in family practice are predominantly not legal ones. They are about fair and common sense outcomes to parental disputes based on placing the needs of children first under the Child Welfare Checklist. You don't need to know any law.

2) The system is based on a foundation of access to justice and fairness to both parties, irrespective of the ability to afford a lawyer.

3) McKenzie Friends, on the basis of sensible, informed understanding of the issues involved, at low cost, can help their clients with the documentation and guide them to accepting, fair, balanced outcomes, so avoiding destructive, time-consuming conflict.

In 80% of family court hearings, at least one party is not legally represented. They suffer no disadvantage at all in court as the issues are not legal ones.

We argue that the family law system is mainly a set of procedures, processes with common sense checklists that are clear to understand.

Can lawyers still help?

At any point during family proceedings, the client, supported by a McKenzie Friend, is entirely free to consult a lawyer if he / she so decides. In very exceptional cases, a good McKenzie Friend will advise clients to seek appropriate legal advice.