Representing yourself in a family law case

Last updated

30 June 2019

If you are well prepared, self-representation in the Family Court is possible for some matters.

Applying for a divorce: Finding the information you need

Information is available from the court to help manage straightforward applications for dissolution of marriage (e.g. where the divorce application is not contested by the other party and no children are involved). The Family Court website ( also hosts a resources page for self-represented litigants. Also see Chapter 4.1: Marriage and divorce.

Filing the divorce application

The Family Court provides an online e-filing option for couples or sole applicants seeking to apply for a divorce. You must pay a fee to lodge an application for a divorce, even if it is straightforward. The fees are listed on the Family Court’s website. Fee reductions are available in some circumstances.

Legal advice

It is strongly advised that you seek legal advice if the family law matter is complex (e.g. if there are disagreements about the care of the children or the division of property). When your relationship has broken down, it can be extremely difficult to deal with your ex-partner in a court setting, particularly if they have legal representation and you do not.

Community legal centres can provide free legal advice on family law matters, and some community legal centres provide regular workshops for the public on family law and divorce.

Also, you can get free advice by phoning VLA’s Legal Help phone line (1300 792 387), where you can receive one-off guidance and information, or be directed to see a VLA lawyer in your area.

Back to
Getting help

Buy the chapter ‘Representing yourself in court’


Buy the Chapter