Think you can’t afford a good Family Court lawyer? ..think again.

Think you can’t afford a good Family Court lawyer? ..think again.

In Australia, one out of every five Family Court cases proceeds without a lawyer. As legal aid can’t be provided to both parties, this sometimes means the perpetrator receives legal aid support for court proceedings. In the 2019-20 Annual Report, The Family Court of Australia stated that 22 per cent of litigants were involved in matters where one or both parties did not have legal representation, and 39 per cent of litigants were self-represented at trials.

In the Report, of the total number of self-represented cases;  65 per cent are related to parenting matters, 10 per cent financial, eight per cent parenting and financial, three per cent contravention, and 14 per cent for other reasons.

Negative impacts of self-representation in Court.


  1. Abusive behaviour.       

Self-represented individuals in Australian courts commonly experience more than just one form of violent and abusive behaviour before separation. Women are more likely than men to say that they had experienced coercive control and gaslighting.

2. Technical challenges & language barrier. Understanding the Court system is a challenge in itself. But cross-examination is something not many individuals can deal with, especially if a victim of domestic violence is confronted with the alleged perpetrator. Then there is often a language barrier. An individual who is not familiar with court proceedings will struggle with things like trial affidavits and subpoenas

3. Loss of access to children. Community Legal Centres Australia CEO Nassim Arrage says self-represented parties in Family Law proceedings may lose their children

4. Long term debt & homelessness. They may also not get a good deal financially out of the relationship breakup, ending up in homelessness, long-term debt, and other significant consequences.

5. Mental & emotional cost to children. In addition, self-representation has an impact on the mental and emotional health of children of self-represented parties, as the time spent on preparing the case and being concerned about the outcome distracts from the quality time spent with children.

There are different programs across the country run by government bodies, universities, and civil society that assist individuals who self-represent in court. However, these services are fragmented, not easy to find and unable to cater for all the individuals who require support.

It is our strongest recommendation, that you call Phoenix Law & Associates to take advantage of  FREE 20-MINUTE phone consultation, so you can understand what is required. Often the costs are not as much as feared, and the consequences of self-representation can be even most costly. 

With thanks and acknowledgement –