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How much does Family Court cost?

It can cost thousands of dollars to take part in Family Court of Australia proceedings. There are two types of fees you may have to pay:

  • Family lawyer’s fees
  • Family Court costs

If you pay for legal representation, your family lawyer’s fees may add up to several thousands dollars - maybe even more. These fees are set by your lawyer, so you should confirm their fees before you ask a lawyer to represent you in a Family Court matter.

You may also have to pay Family Court costs, which are set by the federal government. There are two types of Family Court fees: filing fees and court event fees (see table below).

Family Court costs

CategoryFee typeCost
Filing feesApplication for consent orders$165
Filing feesApplication for decree as to nullity$1275
Filing feesApplication for decree as to nullity - reduced fee$425
Filing feesApplication as to validity of marriage, divorce annulment$1275
Filing feesInitiating application (parenting or financial, final only)$345
Filing feesInitiating application (parenting or financial, final and interim)$465
Filing feesInitiating application (parenting and financial, final only)$565
Filing feesInitiating application (parenting and financial, final and interim)$685
Filing feesResponse to initiating application (final)$345
Filing feesInterim order application/application in a case (parenting and/or financial)$120
Filing feesNotice of appeal to the full court including an appeal from the Federal Circuit Court$1360
Filing feesApplication for leave to appeal$1360
Filing feesApplication under the Trans Tasman Proceedings Act 2010$120
Filing feesFiling an application to register a New Zealand judgement$110
Filing feesIssue subpoena (including subpoena in an arbitration)$55
Court event feesSetting down for hearing fee (defended matter)$860
Court event feesDaily hearing fee (excluding the first hearing day)$860
Court event feesConciliation conference$395

The Family Court might order the other party to pay some or all of your family lawyer’s fees, although the general rule is that each party pays their own fees.

How much is a family lawyer?

Family law lawyers are free to set their own fees, so you should always check what a family law lawyer charges before appointing one. A typical rate might be several hundred dollars per hour.

Given that most lawyers operate on a per-hour rate, the cost of taking part in a Family Law matter will depend on how much work your lawyer is required to do.

You will probably have to pay several thousand dollars in family lawyer fees - although in some Family Law matters, your fees might be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Again, ask for an estimate of total costs before you appoint a lawyer.

What is family law?

Family law is a branch of law that focuses on family relationship matters, such as divorces and child custody disputes. One important element of Australian family law is the Family Law Act 1975, which outlines the rights of children and the responsibilities that parents have towards their children. Under Australian family law, families are required to make a genuine effort to resolve child disputes before initiating legal action.

Legal finance is a personal loan that is used to pay for Family Court fees, Family Court lawyer fees or other legal fees.

Some lenders offer ‘legal loans’ that are specifically designed for legal matters, such as Family Court proceedings. Other lenders offer generic personal loans that can be used to fund an array of expenses - from holidays and weddings to renovations and Family Court matters.

If you want to take out a personal loan for a Family Court matter, a specialist legal loan won’t necessarily be better than a generic personal loan. That’s why you should compare interest rates, fees, features and other conditions before deciding on your choice of legal finance.

Are there loans for Family Court fees?

Yes, some lenders do provide personal loans for Family Court fees. Some of these personal loans are generic products; others are designed specifically for legal scenarios, such as Family Court matters.

These ‘Family Court loans’ or ‘legal loans’ might have some or all of these features:

  • The loan contract might say that the funds have to be used to pay for Family Court fees and/or lawyer fees
  • The lender might transfer these funds directly to your lawyer
  • The lender might extend your loan term if the matter drags on for longer than expected
  • The lender might want a copy of any agreement you sign with your lawyer

Who offers Family Court loans?

A range of lenders should be willing to provide Family Court loans, whether as specialist legal finance products or as generic personal loans that are then used to fund Family Court matters.

Personal loan providers tend to assess applications on a case-by-case basis - so they might be willing to finance some borrowers and some Family Court scenarios, while they might be unwilling to finance others.

Before you submit a Family Court loan application, ask the lender how likely it is to be approved, because a failed application might damage your credit score.

What is the Family Court?

The Family Court of Australia is a court that specialises in family disputes. The court operates in all states and territories except Western Australia (which instead has a similar body, known as the Family Court of Western Australia). The Family Court of Australia hears parenting cases - which may involve issues of child welfare and custody - as well as financial cases.

How do you take out a Family Court loan?

Taking out a Family Court loan should be the same as taking out a generic personal loan, although please note that each lender has its own application process.

Most lenders allow you to make applications over the internet; others may allow phone or in-branch applications. When you make a Family Court loan application, or any personal loan application, lenders will generally want information about your:

  • Identity
  • Address
  • Income
  • Employment
  • Financial position

With a Family Court loan, the lender might also want you to provide details about the legal case, as well as any paperwork you’ve signed with your lawyer.

Depending on the lender and your specific situation, it’s possible that your Family Court loan may be assessed, approved and paid on the same day you submit your application.

How do you compare Family Court loans?

The way to compare Family Court loans, or any personal loans, is by focusing on these six areas:

  1. Interest rate - what is the loan’s advertised interest rate and comparison rate?
  2. Interest type - does the loan have a fixed interest rate or a variable interest rate?
  3. Loan type - is the Family Court loan secured or unsecured?
  4. Loan term - how long do you have to pay off the loan?
  5. Fees - what are the possible upfront, ongoing and penalty fees?
  6. Features - does the loan offer redraw, early repayment and other features?

Frequently asked questions

What is a personal loan?

A personal loan sits somewhere between a home loan and a credit card loan. Unlike with a credit card, you need to sign a formal contract to access a personal loan. However, the process is easier and faster than taking out a mortgage.

Loan sizes typically range from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, while loan terms usually run from one to five years. Personal loans are generally used to consolidate debts, pay emergency bills or fund one-off expenses like holidays.

Can I get a personal loan if I receive Centrelink payments?

It is hard, but not impossible, to qualify for a personal loan if you receive Centrelink payments.

Some lenders won’t lend money to people who are on welfare. However, other lenders will simply consider Centrelink payments as another factor to weigh up when they assess a person’s capacity to repay a loan. You should check with any prospective lender about their criteria before making a personal loan application.

How are personal loans regulated?

Personal lenders in Australia are regulated by ASIC (the Australian Securities & Investments Commission) and must follow responsible lending rules. That means they can’t lend money without making “reasonable inquiries” about a borrower’s financial situation and ensuring the loan is “not unsuitable” for them.

How long do personal loans take?

Depending on the lender, some personal loan applications can be approved in as little as one hour, or you may need to wait until the next business day. If approved, you may receive your money on the same day, the next business day, or within the week.

Where can I get a personal loan?

The Australian personal loans market contains dozens of lenders offering several hundred different products. Personal loans are available through a range of institutions, including:

There are three main ways to access personal loans. You can go through a comparison website, such as RateCity. You can use a finance broker. Or you can directly contact the lender.

What are the pros and cons of personal loans?

The advantages of personal loans are that they’re easier to obtain than mortgages and usually have lower interest rates than credit cards.

One disadvantage with personal loans is that you have to go through a formal application process, unlike when you borrow money on your credit card. Another disadvantage is that you’ll be charged a higher interest rate than if you borrowed the money as part of a mortgage.

What is a bad credit personal loan?

A bad credit personal loan is a personal loan designed for somebody with a bad credit history. This type of personal loan has higher interest rates than regular personal loans as well as higher fees.

How long does it take to get a student personal loan?

Completing an online personal loan application can often take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on your lender, processing your personal loan application may take anywhere between 1 and 24 hours. If your personal loan application is approved, you may receive the money in your bank account the following business day, or, in some cases, the same day.

Is a personal loan a variable or fixed-rate loan?

Depending on the personal loan lender, you may be able to choose between a fixed and a variable interest rate. But, there are a few distinct differences between the two, so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before deciding on what’s right for you.

A fixed interest rate loan gets you the convenience of knowing exactly how much you need to repay each fortnight or month. On the other hand, you generally won’t be able to make lump sum or advanced payments to close your personal loan early - or at least not without a penalty.

With a variable interest rate personal loan, you may be able to get a longer loan repayment term, with the option of paying off the loan early. You typically won’t need to pay any additional charges for an early full repayment either. The potential disadvantage with an interest rate that can change is that your repayment is not entirely predictable, as it can fluctuate with the market. However, you’ll likely have more options as more lenders offer a variable interest rate personal loan.

Can you refinance a $5000 personal loan?

Much like home loans, many personal loans can be refinanced. This is where you replace your current personal loan with another personal loan, often from another lender and at a lower interest rate. Switching personal loans may let you enjoy more affordable repayments, or useful features and benefits.

If you have a $5000 personal loan as well as other debts, you may be able to use a debt consolidations personal loan to combine these debts into one, potentially saving you money and simplifying your repayments.

Can I get a bad credit personal loan with a guarantor?

Some lenders will consider personal loan applications from a borrower with bad credit if the borrower has a family member with good credit willing to guarantee the loan (a guarantor).

If the borrower fails to pay back their personal loan, it will be their guarantor’s responsibility to cover the repayments.

What is the average interest rate on personal loans for single parents?

Like other types of personal loans, the average interest rate for personal loans for single parents changes regularly, as lenders add, remove, and vary their loan offers. The interest rate you’ll receive may depend on a range of different factors, including your loan amount, loan term, security, income, and credit score.

Can I repay a $3000 personal loan early?

If you receive a financial windfall (e.g. tax refund, inheritance, bonus), using some of this money to make extra repayments onto your personal loan or medium amount loan could help reduce the total interest you’re charged on your loan, or help clear your debt ahead of schedule.

Check your loan’s terms and conditions before paying extra onto your loan, as some lenders charge fees for making extra repayments, or early exit fees for clearing your debt ahead of the agreed term.

How can I get a $3000 loan approved?

Responsible lenders don’t have guaranteed approval for personal loans and medium amount loans, as the lender will want to check that you can afford the loan repayments on your current income without ending up in financial hardship.

Having a good credit score can increase the likelihood of your personal loan application being approved. Bad credit borrowers who opt for a medium amount loan with no credit checks may need to prove they can afford the repayments on their current income. Centrelink payments may not count, so you should check with the lender prior to making an application.

Can I merge my personal loan with my home loan?

Yes, you can refinance your home loan and, in the process, merge or consolidate your personal loan and home loan. By doing so, you can lower the number of debts you have, and you may also reduce the total interest you have to pay.

However, you should consult a financial advisor or a mortgage broker to confirm that you are decreasing your total outstanding debt, including interest payments. The repayment term for a home loan can be much longer than that for a personal loan, and by merging the two, you could be repaying a higher amount over the full term.

What causes bad credit history?

Bad credit history is caused by filing for bankruptcy, defaulting on your debts, falling behind on your repayments and having loan applications rejected. Lenders are wary of borrowers who demonstrate this sort of behaviour because it suggests they might struggle to repay future loans.

Borrowers with bad credit may find it more difficult to be approved for a loan, or they may get higher interest rates when they do get approved.

Which lenders offer bad credit personal loans?

Several dozen lenders offer bad credit personal loans in Australia. These are generally smaller lenders that aren’t household names.

What is an unsecured bad credit personal loan?

A bad credit personal loan is ‘unsecured’ when the borrower doesn’t offer up an asset, such as a car or jewellery, as collateral or security. Lenders generally charge higher interest rates on unsecured loans than secured loans.

What is a secured bad credit personal loan?

A bad credit personal loan is 'secured' when the borrower offers up an asset, such as a car or jewellery, as collateral or security. If the borrower fails to repay the loan, the lender can then seize the asset to recoup its losses.

How do you get a bad credit personal loan?

You can get a bad credit personal loan by applying directly to a lender, by going through a mortgage broker or by using a comparison website like RateCity.