McKenzie Friend 

provides support for Australian family law & domestic violence matters 

What is a McKenzie Friend

 

In short, a McKenzie Friend (MF) assists a self represented litigant in person, in a court of law, rather than represent them. A McKenzie Friend is unable to conduct the actual court case for the self represented litigant.

A McKenzie Friend can best be described as someone who helps with pre-court preparation and can accompany you to court to help you as a litigant in person - those who are unrepresented by a solicitor or engage a barrister. Your McKenzie Friend is able to sit with you in the court and offer their opinion and support as well as taking notes to help you.

 

A McKenzie Friend does not need to be legally qualified, and as such, can not provide actual legal advice. As a self represented person in court you are entitled to have assistance, lay or professional, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Don't give up if you can't afford a lawyer!

No one knows your case as well as you

Are you facing any of the following......

01.

Can't get Legal Aid & can't afford a laywer 

If mediation has failed to resolve your dispute the inevitable next step is to bring in the 'big guns then the finally the court arena. This can be a long, drawn out, acrimonious and expensive path.

 

Many Australians think if they were to get embroiled in a serious legal matter that the State will provide a Legal Aid representative if they can't afford a lawyer. Generally if you own a home and earn a wage the possibility of getting aid is slim. It is recommended you contact Legal Aid in the state in which you live in to check if you qualify first before seeking alternatives such as a McKenzie Friend. Qualified legal advice is the best course of action for piece of mind. Click on your state below to check with Legal aid:

 

So you may be unable to obtain Legal Aid and without access to funds to pay a legal practitioner you probably feel screwed, overwhelmed and in a state of  constant panic about how you are going to, for example, fight for the custody or safety of your children; or obtain a fair property settlement against an ex-partner who may have all the money in the world to to blow on a lawyer just to achieve the win despite what's fair and equitable or in the best interests of a child.

The law doesn't state you have to have a lawyer. You can self represent. After all, no one knows your case as well as you do and no one will be as passionate about obtaining a satisfactory outcome for your life than you. As the saying goes - What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. You can do it if you have to.

If you do face this this stressful decision the positive is -  A McKenzie Friend can assist you and this is a huge secret the general population does not know even exists. I didn't know until 8 years into my own various family court appearances. 

 

Don't be fooled though, taking this path is not easy.  It can be frustrating for both for you and the court as well as your former partner or opponent. But on the positive side, the court must do their best to help you move through the court process.

02.

 Your partner has engaged a solicitor

Dealing with separation can be an emotional minefield.  It takes time to sort through, comprise and divide your lives.  Then one of you throws the first grenade engaging a lawyer when things aren't working out the way they wanted.

Communicating with a lawyer can  not only be stressful, but to your detriment if you are not schooled up with your rights and responsibilities. Your partner's lawyer is not working for you. Everything in writing and spoken is admissable in court unless it is under the cloak  of 'without prejudice'. 

A McKenzie Friend can:

  • Be a sounding board if you want just want to do it yourself;

  • Be your guide if you get stuck;

  • Explain a few do's and don't's; and

  • Assist you forminany correspondence responding back to solicitors with a professional cohesive approach, thus letting the other side know you are in control of your matter and will not be intimated by your ex-partner going 'legal'.

 

Being level headed and logical during this phase can have very positive outcomes like settling your differences saving you a lot of precious time and family stress that is evitable going to the next phase - court.

03.

Divorce, Parenting or Property Court Matters

The majority of parenting or property cases can be resolved without the need for a contested hearing, but without assistance and knowledge of the system, family law cases can become protracted.  A McKenzie Friend can make a real difference during the early stages and middle stages, even before any trial hearing takes place, to minimise conflict and the time taken to reach an amicable conclusion.

A McKenzie Friend can provide support, guide and assistance no matter how far along you are in the process; such as: 

  • Divorce Documentation

  • Common Law Property Applications to the Court or Response Applications

  • Child Custody and Parenting Plans

  • Parenting Applications or Responses

  • Applications in a Case

  • Family Court Forms

  • Family Court processes procedures and paperwork

  • Consent Orders

  • Child Support Applications and Income Objections

  • Spousal Support

  • Contraventions

04.

Have you been a victim of Domestic Violence

No individual should be the victim of any type of abuse. When domestic violence does occur, it can be difficult mentally and physically to proactively protect yourself and your children.

 

A McKenzie Friend can work with you very quickly, giving much need guidance and help  in obtaining swift protection orders at your local Magistrates Court. 

 

Domestic Violence Order (DVO) is a general description of two types of Orders made under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012. A Domestic Violence Order can be either: (a) A Temporary Protection Order; or (b) A Protection Order. The Court may may make a Temporary Protection Order if it is satisfied: (a) that a relevant relationship exists; and (b) the person named as the Respondent has committed domestic violence.

The key is to get your paperwork lodged as soon as practicable after a domestic violence incident has occurred. This is the toughest and scariest part being a victim of intimate violence.

For more information on what a Domestic Violence Order is click here.

MCKENZIE FRIEND

Family Court, Property, Divorce, DV matters Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Australia