Litigation Funding Orders
As a general rule parties to family law proceedings are responsible for meeting their own legal fees. However, Court proceedings can be expensive and it is common in family law matters for one party to not be generating an income at all or an income substantial enough to meet legal fees or for their equity to exist only in an asset like the former matrimonial home. This can make meeting legal fees difficult.
To ensure these parties are not disadvantaged, they can apply to the Court for a litigation funding order or interim costs for funds to be released to them to meet these costs.
The Court can specifically make the following orders:
- Part property settlement – The Court can make an order for one party to prematurely receive part of their final property settlement early. This is only appropriate if the amount sought by the party is within their likely entitlement. The Court will not make an order for a party to receive a part property settlement of $100,000 for example, if they will only receive $50,000 as a final property settlement. The funds may be catergorised as a part property settlement (where it will be deducted from the amount paid to the party at the final property settlement stage) or how it should be treated may be left open to be determined by a Judge at a Final Hearing.
- Spousal Maintenance – The Court can make an order for one party to pay the other party an amount to meet their reasonable expenses (which can include legal fees). To make an order for spousal maintenance the Court must be satisfied that the party seeking the order cannot meet their reasonable expenses from their income or financial resources and that the other party has the capacity to make the payment to them. The Court can make orders for spousal maintenance to be paid weekly/fortnightly/monthly or in a lump sum. Spousal maintenance is an amount additional to what a party will receive as part of their final property settlement and will therefore not be deducted from a party’s final property settlement.
- Costs Orders – The Court can make an order for one party to pay the costs of the other party, if the Court considers there are grounds to do so. Again, this is not deducted from a party’s final property settlement.
WHERE TO NEXT?
Taking the next step and contacting a family lawyer can be scary. Our lawyers will make you feel comfortable so you can talk about your situation. But first, ask yourself, Do I really need a lawyer?